The Pirates continued to show of some power, belting three more home runs against the Tigers. After a late rally from Detroit, the Bucs and Tigers tied 6-6 in Lakeland on Wednesday.
After the start of his spring training was delayed due to the lockout, Hoy Park made his spring debut in the game and hit an opposite field home run in his first at-bat off Tigers lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. That was just about all the Pirates could muster off Rodriguez. The only other hit was a wind-assisted bloop-single off the bat of Michael Chavis.
Hoy Park homered in his first at-bat of Spring Training! pic.twitter.com/Iicp6DG2uz
— Young Bucs (@YoungBucsPIT) March 23, 2022
Oneil Cruz continued his streak of destroying baseballs. He recorded an exit velocity of 113.4 mph on a fifth-inning single, the hardest hit ball in the Grapefruit league this spring. Two batters later, Michael Perez homered on a ball the bounced off the top of the right field fence, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead. Perez is competing for a roster spot as Roberto Perez’s backup.
Michael Perez to the 'pen! pic.twitter.com/tNWYPbcvEM
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 23, 2022
After a Rodolfo Castro single, Daniel Vogelbach drove him in on a double to the left-center gap off of left-hander Gregory Soto. Cruz then collected an RBI single off of Soto, giving him his second hit of the afternoon.
Hunter Owen added his first homerun of the spring off the left field foul pole in the top of the ninth, tying the game at six a piece.
Wil Crowe faced a tough test against a Tigers lineup that consisted of quite a few regulars and a pair of top prospects. He fared pretty well as he allowed just one run on three hits and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work. The off-speed pitches were working for Crowe in this one, and 31 of his 49 pitches went for strikes.
Austin Brice got roughed up in the seventh, giving up five runs — four on one swing from Ryan Kreidler that put the Tigers on top 6-5. He allowed three hits and walked a pair and only recorded two outs.
The Bucs are back in action again tomorrow against the Phillies in Bradenton.
The Pirates have now homered in all six of their games so far this spring. Is it because of a new philosophy implemented by hitting coach Andy Haines? An result of the strong springtime Florida winds? Development from Pirates players? Maybe a little bit of everything, and what happens in spring has to be taken with a grain of salt. But, it’s certainly not a bad thing for the Pirates who finished last in MLB in home runs a season ago.