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Pirates Spring Game Recap: Home Run Barrage Continues in Win Over Rays

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Bryan Reynolds

Things looked bleak early, but home runs from Bryan Reynolds, Jared Triolo and Gilberto Celestino lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-8 over the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park on Friday afternoon.

Tampa (2-5) struck for three runs in the first inning off of starter Mitch Keller on a pair of run-scoring hits and a sacrifice fly.

Reynolds got the Pirates (2-4) a run back in the bottom of the opening frame with a long home run to left field, his second of the spring.

The following inning, Triolo connected on a three-run home run to left field to put the Pirates ahead 4-3. Triolo is slashing .400/.455/.800 so far this spring.

With the Pirates already leading by three runs in the seventh, Gilberto Celestino blasted a grand slam to left field to put the Pirates ahead 12-5. Earlier, Celestino drove in a run with a base hit through the left side of the infield.

In the third inning, Liover Peguero bounced into a fielder’s choice, which allowed Ke’Bryan Hayes to score. Hayes drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth on a double to the right-center gap.

Kyle Nicolas and Jose Hernandez each allowed a run out of the bullpen for the Pirates.

The Pirates always seemed to have an answer whenever the Rays struck for a run. They scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Jason Delay drove in a run with a groundout before Celestino’s single.

The Rays scored three runs off of Sean Sullivan in the ninth before being replaced by Cameron Junker, who recorded the final out.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

  • Jared Triolo finished his afternoon 1 for 2 with a home run, three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. He also made a couple nice plays at second base.
  • Ji Hwan Bae went 1 for 1 with a walk and two runs. Rowdy Tellez was on base twice on one single and a walk.
  • Termarr Johnson finished 1 for 2 and has reached base safely in six of his last eight plate appearances.
  • Mitch Keller’s second start of the spring didn’t go as well as his first. He allowed three runs on four hits in two-plus innings pitched. Keller walked two and struck out just as many.
  • Wily Peralta worked a pair of scoreless innings in relief of Keller and struck out one batter.

UP NEXT

The Pittsburgh Pirates will take a trip to Lakeland for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Detroit Tigers. Roansy Contreras will make his second start of the spring as he looks to earn a spot in the opening day rotation. Veteran right-hander Jack Flaherty will start for the Tigers. First pitch: 1:05 ET.

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