Red Sox Live Blog: Pirates Ride Nate McLouth’s Home Run, Edge the Red Sox 6-5

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Red Sox Live Blog: Pirates Ride Nate McLouth's Home Run, Edge the Red Sox 6-5

Final 9th, Pirates 6-5: Juan Cruz closes it out for the Pirates.

Nate Spears tried to make it interesting with a two-out, double, but Mauro Gomez flied out.

Bottom 8th, Pirates 6-5: Morales looked pretty good in his first appearance, but just keep in mind the competition that he pitched against.

He struck out minor leaguer Alex Fuselier. After walking Yamaico Navarro, Morales was able to induce a double play to exit without any issues. Again, not ideal competition, but results are results.

Mid 8th, Pirates 6-5: Franklin Morales is in to make his first appearance of the spring. Earlier in camp, he was having issues with his strength and apparently also had a check up on his heart.

He'll be pitching to Daniel Butler, so we'll see how the reliever looks, considering he is out of options. 

Bottom 7th, Pirates 6-5: The Pirates jumped on Andrew Bailey in the seventh inning and it came courtesy of Nate McLouth.

The center fielder drilled Bailey's pitch over the stands for a two-run, homer. It marks the second in four appearances that Bailey has been nipped.

The other day, he said he's going through the transition of throwing the ball to throwing through the ball with that "feel". Guess it's still a work in progress.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-4: The Red Sox take the lead on an absolute bomb from Mauro Gomez. 

Gomez has some power — he's averaged about 23 home runs per season over the last three years in the minors — and he just showed it off in a big way.

He gives the Sox the lead with a bomb to left, as Andrew Bailey comes on for the Sox.

Mid 6th, 4-4: Have to love the run downs and there have been a quite a few of them. Once Pedro Ciriaco got on base after the first basemen's error, Jason Repko was already thinking third base.

The only problem was that Ryan Lavarnway was standing on third. Caught off guard, the catcher started to run home, but considering he isn't anywhere close to a speedster, Lavarnway was nabbed with ease.

Bottom 5th, 4-4: Tazawa made pretty quick work of the lineup there. He had Andrew McCutchen line out sharply to Kevin Youkilis, who made a strong defensive play there.

Casey McGehee proceeded to fly out while Neil Walker struck out in three pitches.

Mid 5th, 4-4: Adrian Gonzalez can thank the wind for this RBI. He slammed a double off the wall that was aided by the wind — even though Andrew McCutchen still had a chance to snare it down.

But he hit scored Kevin Youkilis, which tied up the game. 

Bottom 4th, Pirates 4-3: After three innings, Lester's day was done and was replaced by Junichia Tazawa. The reason was more that he threw 80 pitches and had reached his ceiling in terms of building on the arm strength.

And Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison had problems on the bases again. As Kevin Correia got caught in a rundown, Harrison ran to second safely but slipped past the bag — again — and Ciriaco tagged him out — again. Clearly something to work on.

 

Mid 4th, Pirates 4-3: Like I said before, Saltalmacchia is scorching at the plate today. He unloaded a two-run bomb over the right field fence that cleared it by a mile.

It adds to an impressive stretch, considering he belted a double off the wall earlier and caught a guy stealing the bases.

Speaking of bases swipes, Jason Repko added another one in the fourth inning. That brings his total to three in this game.

Bottom 3rd, Pirates 4-1: If you're thinking these updates are slow, it's because the game is going really, really slow. Lester is taking a lot of  time in between pitches.

Regardless, the Pirates are hitting Lester well, starting the third with five straight hits.

Fresh off his lucrative deal, Andrew McCutchen sliced a single to bring home Josh Harrison. After a pair of runs scored, third basemen Matt Hague unloaded a two-run shot to add on.

Lester didn't look sharp at all that inning.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: In his second at-bat, Jose Iglesias flew out to right field.

Before the game, Valentine called Iglesias a major-league caliber shortstop, but said he wasn't sure if he was ready for them just yet. Valentine also called Mike Aviles' performance "great".

It seems more and more likely that Iglesias will start the year off in Triple-A Pawtucket, but a call up sometime soon in the season is bount to happen.

Bottom 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Saltalmacchia is stealing the show here, this time with his defense.

When Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia bunted, the catcher ran up for the ball, faked a throw to first and dove back at home to tag Matt Hague for the out. He has really stepped it up and taken the torch since Jason Varitek's retirement.

The Pirates continued to hit some hard balls against Lester, who in case you didn't get the memo is the Opening Day starter.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Saltalamacchia's double to start the inning helped key the burst. After Ryan Lavarnway flew out, Josh Kroeger ripped a single to drive in the run.

Jason Repko also continues to claw and show what he brings to the table. During Alex Hassan's ensuing at-bat, Repko stole second and third base on successive pitches. He certainly has that veteran savvy and knows when to pick his spots.

Bottom 1st: Jon Lester isn't off to a crisp start. The lefty surrendered a single to Josh Harrison and walked Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee on consecutive at-bats.

He lucked out with Harrison. The shortstop sped over to second, but because he somewhat overslid second, Ciriaco was able to tag him out after Jarrod Saltalamacchia's accurate throw.

Mid 1st: Pedro Ciriaco led off against his former club and flied out to center field. After a strong start to the spring, he's fizzled out a little bit over the last few games.

Either way, Valentine said there isn't really room for Ciriaco on the team's major league roster. Also of note, the shorstop took the chance before the game to catch up with his old cronies from the Pirates.

Jose Iglesias followed up with a single, but Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez both grounded into 4-3 outs.

11:40 a.m.: Here are the lineups.

Red Sox
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Josh Kroeger, RF
Jason Repko, CF
Alex Hassan, LF
Jon Lester, P

Pirates
Jose Tabata, RF
Josh Harrison, SS
Andrew McCutchen, CF
Casey McGehee, 1B
Neil Walker, 2B
Matt Hague, 3B
Yamaico Navarro, LF
Michael McKenry, C
Kevin Correia, P

11:30 a.m.: Jon Lester is back on the mound for the Red Sox on Wednesday, as they head up the west coast of Florida to Bradenton to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The newly minted Opening Day starter for Bobby Valentine's team, the big left-hander will be making his third Grapefruit League appearance of the spring. Lester gave up a pair of runs on five hits in four innings of work in his last outing, a March 16 start against the Twins.

Andrew Bailey, Franklin Morales and Junichi Tazawa are expected to see work on the mound at some point following Lester as well.

Pittsburgh will hand the ball to Kevin Correia, and All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan will also get some work in for the Bucs.

First pitch from Bradenton is slated for 1:05 p.m.

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