Pirates spring training report: Pirates 10, Tampa Bay Rays 5
March 8, 2014 11:52 PM
Second baseman Neil Walker makes a diving catch in foul territory against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park, Fla., Saturday.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Starter: Francisco Liriano -- 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.
Hitter: Russell Martin hit his third home run of the spring, a two-run shot to left-center field and was 2 for 3 as the designated hitter.
Of note: Bench coach Jeff Banister managed the game Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. Clint Hurdle stayed behind at Pirate City at minor league camp.
News of the day
Game: Pirates vs. Boston Red Sox, in the first televised game of spring training McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.
When: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Root Sports.
Francisco Liriano was stretched out to three innings and faced 14 batters, while working predominantly on his fastball command.
"I think I got better command on my fastball. I'm right where I want to be right now and get myself ready for opening day," Liriano said.
The Pirates batted around the order in a six-run first inning, so he was challenged to stay ready.
"That long first inning he stayed in the dugout forever I had to send him out on the field to actually have him toss," Banister said. "To find a rhythm and get some fastballs in the zone [was good], and more importantly got three [innings] for him and got some length on him to get him ready for his next outing."
The game also marked the first time catcher Chris Stewart caught Liriano -- and both reported the communication was strong.
"I talked to him before the game and in my bullpen session. Told him what I like to do. We're pretty much on the same page," Liriano said.
"I knew what he had going in. I knew what it did. I didn't know how he liked to throw in certain situations," Stewart said. "Or how he'd react in certain situations. So it was good to be out there seeing that, getting on a page that way we're familiar going into the season.
"He trusts me, I trust him when it arises in the season. Felt good out there."
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