Kuwata dazzles in debut, but Pirates lose again, 10-4

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Masumi Kuwata's North American debut brought cheers from the crowd at McKechnie Field, but the Pirates were pounded by the Cincinnati Reds, 10-4, and fell to 0-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Kuwata pitched a perfect third inning, getting a groundout from Bubba Crosby, then striking out Scott Hatteberg and Brandon Phillips with sweeping breaking pitches. Hatteberg, one of the National League's toughest hitters to fan, swung at a slider in the dirt for his third strike. Phillips was frozen by a curveball.

"I was so excited, you know?" Kuwata said afterward. "A dream come true."

Not beforehand, though. Kuwata confessed to having serious jitters while warming up in the bullpen.

"I was really nervous. ... In Japan, I was a veteran for 21 years. Here in America, I am just a rookie. I have to show what I can do on the field."

There were more than 70 Japanese media members on hand.

Shawn Chacon pitched the first two innings in his spring debut, allowing a game-opening walk to Crosby, then Hatteberg's two-run home run to left. He allowed one hit the rest of the way and struck out two.

Yoslan Herrera took the mound after Kuwata and was charged with five runs - four earned -- in his two innings, all in Cincinnati's five-run fifth that put the Reds ahead, 7-3. Herrera gave up four hits and two walks in that inning, though it might have gone easier for him had second baseman Jose Hernandez not muffed a routine double-play ball that would have brought two quick outs.

The Pirates got a two-run double in the second inning from Hernandez and an RBI single in the ninth from Neil Walker.

Adam LaRoche, in his home debut for the spring, walked twice and flied out to deep left.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.



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