Martin homers again, but Pirates lost to Orioles
BRADENTON, Fla. – Russell Martin hit his fourth home run of a torrid spring training Monday, but Steve Pearce and Michael Almanzar each hit two-run homers to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 7-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Martin singled and hit a two-run drive off Orioles starter Chris Tillman. In six games this spring, Martin is 8 for 15 with nine RBIs. He did not hit a home run in three of his previous four spring trainings with the Pirates, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s really just (about) hitting the mistakes, staying aggressive, seeing the ball well and trusting myself up there,” Martin said. “I’m not taking pitches. I’m aggressive until the pitch tells me not to swing.”
Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to six games with a first-inning single. He is 10 for 17 this spring.
Steve Clevenger hit a solo home run off Pirates starter Jay Jackson.
Tillman worked 3 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits. He struck out four and hit a batter.
“Two areas where I would’ve liked to have been better are first-pitch strikes and two-strike approach,” Tillman said. “I left the ball up with two strikes and (allowed) two hits.”
Tillman made his longest outing of the spring. He also allowed nearly twice as many runs (five) as he had in his first two starts combined (three).
As long as I feel I executed the pitch well, physically felt well, that’s all that really matters,” Tillman said. “I feel great, and I think that’s all that matters right now.”
Jackson, a right-hander, started in place of lefty Jeff Locke, who is nursing a sore oblique. Jackson pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits and a walk. A non-roster invitee, Jackson likely will begin the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
“As long as they keep giving me the ball, I’m getting a chance,” Jackson said. “As long as I get a chance, I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Taillon sent to minors
Pitcher Jameson Taillon, one of the Pirates’ top prospects, was among the team’s first round of roster cuts.
Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 amateur, was reassigned to minor league camp Monday and is to start the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.
“I’ve got to go down and get innings,” Taillon said. “It was fun to get some innings here. But, the reality of it is I’ve got to get built up and there’s not enough innings to go around.”
Taillon had a 3.38 ERA over 2 2/3 innings in two exhibiton games. A blister on one of the fingers of his pitching hand kept him from making another appearance.
Infielder Matt Hague and catcher Carlos Paulino also were reassigned to minor league camp. Right-hander Casey Sadler was optioned to Indianapolis. Infielder Alen Hanson and left-hander Joely Rodriguez were optioned to Double-A Altoona.
Right-hander Phil Irwin threw batting practice for the first time Monday. Irwin, who will start the season at Indianapolis, missed about a week because of a sore elbow. … Baltimore outfielder Xavier Paul left the game after being hit by a pitch on the right hand. His injury did not appear to be serious, but Paul was scheduled to have X-rays.