CLEARATER, Fla. — Here is the box score and play by play of today’s game.
***Kyle McPherson pitched five scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and struck out one without walking a batter.
“He was effective in following the game plan,” Clint Hurdle said. “The first-pitch strike number was good. Curveball was sharp, throwing it for strikes, changeup was mixed in, fastball both sides of the plate. Good outing for him today.”
“Spring training is something that you continue to get better every outing,” McPherson said. “You got to take the good with the bad and be aware of your mistakes and try not to repeat them in the future, and hold onto the good things you do out there. It’s been a roller coaster of a spring so far.”
McPherson allowed four runs in each of his past two outings. Three walks hurt him the first time, six hits the second.
After a perfect first, McPherson put two men on in the second. Ryan Howard singled and Domonic Brown hit into a force-out. Darin Ruf singled, and Laynce Nix’s grounder put men on second and third, but McPherson got Erik Kratz to ground out and end the inning.
McPherson worked a perfect third and worked around a leadoff double from Chase Utley in the fourth to retire the next three batters. Ender Inciarte roped a two-out double in the fifth, but stayed there.
Two of the four hits McPherson allowed went for extra bases, and Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata ran down some hard-hit balls.
“Pitching in the zone, I got some early contact,” McPherson said. “Fortunately, early contact was in my favor today, balls on the ground and some fly balls that we could handle.”
McPherson said he had 65 to 70 pitches to work with.
Hurdle said the fact that McPherson faced major leaguers who will start opening day for the Phillies, like Utley, Howard and Brown, mattered when evaluating the outing.
"Especially with the young pitchers, sure you do," Hurdle said. "You look at the strength of the lineup."
"What I did like today was the left-handed batters they had in the lineup, he was effective against them as well."
***Garrett Jones (oblique) will play first base Friday, Hurdle said. He will get at least two at-bats and play five innings in the field after his batting practice session today went well.
***Jeff Karstens (biceps tendinitis) will throw a side session Saturday before pitching two innings in a game Monday. The Pirates have not yet determined whether that will be a Grapefruit League game or a minor league game.
***Mike Zagurski allowed his first run of the spring on a home run from Pete Orr.
***The Pirates regulars played six innings in the field and batted in the top of the seventh. Now is the time you will see them play more on consecutive games and go deeper into games.
***Neil Walker went 2 for 3, and Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 3 with a double.
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