Pirates beat Tampa Bay Rays, 10-3, for first Grapefruit League win

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BRADENTON, Fla.-- Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had a productive day to lead the squad to its first Grapefruit League win of the spring season, a 10-3 victory against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays today at McKechnie Field.

McCutchen was 3 for 3 with a home run, a double, three runs scored and two RBIs in the victory against the Rays, which the Pirates lost to in the spring opener yesterday in Port Charlotte.

Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel, scheduled to pitch an inning in the game, did not appear because of soreness in his elbow. His status is day-to-day.

Leading, 3-2, the Pirates' two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth inning put distance between themselves and the Rays. Neil Walker had a two-out triple followed by a McCutchen double that made it 4-2. One batter later, Pedro Alvarez doubled to bring McCutchen around and make it 5-2.

Offseason, free agent signing Kevin Correia, a right-handed starter expected to be part of the rotation, was ineffective in his spring training debut, as he didn't make it through the two innings he was anticipated to work.

Correia was lifted after pitching 1 1/3 innings and yielding two earned runs, although he gave up just two hits. He was done in by two walks and a passed ball.

"The first outing, you just get that adrenaline rush and I was just overthrowing," said Correia, who went 10-10 with the Padres last season. "My stride will just get too long and everything just flattens out."

The Pirates fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, when a four-pitch walk to start the game to Desmond Jennings came back to hurt Correia. Jennings stole second base and eventually scored on a groundout to second.

In the bottom of the first, the Pirates tied it at 1-1 when McCutchen drove a pitch over the wall in left field for a solo home run. The power shown by McCutchen was particularly intriguing because, for the second consecutive day, he was hitting in the No. 3 spot in the order after spending 82 games as a leadoff hitter last season.

Ray Olmedo's groundout to second chased in Felipe Lopez in the second to push Tampa Bay ahead, 2-1.

A Garrett Jones double in the bottom of the fourth scored McCutchen to tie the game at 2-2. McCutchen earlier in the inning had singled sharply to left.

The Pirates then got a bit of a gift --- from the sun --- to go ahead, 3-2.

Ryan Doumit hit a fly ball that should have been an out caught with common effort, but when center fielder Jennings and right fielder Matt Joyce approached right centerfield, both appeared to lose it in the midday sun. The ball dropped in for a double, and Jones trotted in to push the Pirates to a 3-2 advantage.

From there, the fifth inning rally was enough, even as the Pirates scored five more runs over the seventh and eighth, including a solo home run from catcher Jason Jaramillo.

The Grapefruit League slate continues Monday for the Pirates, when the squad splits. A team -- with starting pitcher Paul Maholm -- will face Baltimore at home while another with Bryan Morris as the starting pitcher will face the Rays in Port Charlotte.


Colin Dunlap: cdunlap@post-gazette.com .


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