BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — The Pirates came from behind today to defeat the New York Yankees, 6-5, in both teams' spring training debut.
Pittsburgh trailed 4-0 but scored twice in the second and four times in the seventh, when Tony Sanchez hit a tying three-run homer against Chase Whitley. Chris McGuiness had a go-ahead single that drove in former-Yankee Chris Dickerson.
Francisco Liriano gave up two runs, three hits and a walk in his one scheduled inning. He allowed four of his first five batters to reach. He was replaced by Edinson Volquez.
“I was just working on my sinker and fastball,” he said. “I’ll throw my breaking stuff later this spring. I use my slider a lot, but first I need to get my release point with my fastball. Physically, I feel 100 percent.”
Liriano, the Pirates’ scheduled opening-day starter, was 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA last year and was selected NL Comeback Player of the Year.
THE BIG WHIFF
Pedro Alvarez led the NL with 186 strikeouts last season, and the Pirates hope he can cut down this year.
“To think that he’s ever going to be under 100 is unrealistic,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But I do think the strikeout number can be shrunk to some degree.”
Alvarez struck out twice in three at-bats against the Yankees. He went down swinging in the first inning and took a called strike three in the second, stranding five runners.
THE NEW GUY
Volquez admitted he was nervous when he took the mound.
“I was a little bit too excited,” he said. “Part of it was the first game of spring training. But I’m also with a new team and I want to make a good impression. I want to let them know they made a good decision by signing me.”
Pittsburgh gave Volquez a $5 million, one-year deal, and he is competing with left-hander Jeff Locke for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.