Oneil Cruz and Travis Swaggerty each hit home runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates but it wasn’t enough as they fell to the Philadelphia Phillies 10-4 in Clearwater on Friday.
Cruz greeted Phillies starter Zack Wheeler with an opposite-field home run on the first pitch of the game. For Cruz, it was his second home run of the spring. He later doubled, giving him a pair of extra-base hits.
The following inning, Swaggerty belted a two-run shot, also off of Wheeler, to put the Pirates ahead by a score of 3-0. Like Cruz, it was Swaggerty’s second long ball. Swaggerty finished the game 2 for 3.
Rodolfo Castro doubled and drove in a run as part of a two-hit performance. Ji-Man Choi also doubled for one of his two hits on the afternoon.
Drew Maggi raised his spring batting average to .538 with a double in the eighth inning.
JT Brubaker made his third start of the spring slate. After racking up six more strikeouts in this one, the right-hander is up to 15 strikeouts in eight innings so far this spring. His 15 punch outs lead the Grapefruit League.
Brubaker finished the afternoon with two earned runs while working into the fourth inning.
On a windy day, Pirates’ pitching surrendered six homers to the Phillies — two each from Caleb Smith and Tyler Chatwood and one each from Brubaker and Chase De Jong.
The Pirates (3-9-2) will be back at LECOM Park on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the New York Yankees. Johan Oviedo is expected to start for the Pirates.