Walker has three hits, RBI for Bucs
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Neil Walker had three hits and an RBI to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, striking out one. Morton, who is scheduled to start the Pirates’ second regular-season game on Wednesday against the Cubs, ended the spring with a 0.82 ERA in four starts.
Tony Watson pitched a scoreless inning. Watson hasn’t given up a run in five innings this spring. Russell Martin and Clint Barmes added RBIs for the Pirates.
Chase Utley had all three of Philadelphia’s hits, breaking out of a spring slump with a pair of doubles. Utley entered batting .175 with one extra-base hit this spring.
“His timing early on was off,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “As of late, the contact has been there. He found the gaps tonight.”
The Phillies have been shut out in each of its last three games while combining for six hits in those losses.
Sandberg, though, isn’t concerned.
“I see balls being hit on the nose and nothing to show for it,” Sandberg said. “I also look at the potential of the lineup. When it all counts on Monday, that’s when I’m counting on balls to find some holes and have some baserunners.”
Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick started and gave up three hits in five scoreless innings, striking out two and walking two. Kendrick lowered his ERA to 2.81 in four spring starts.
“I felt good,” Kendrick said. “I wanted to finish up on a good note. I’m looking to the real games. It’s nice to pitch in front of our fans in a big league ballpark. I had a good rhythm. I felt good about everything.”
Phillies pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez appeared to reach on an infield hit in the ninth, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call and it was reversed by instant replay.
“We had everything set up for it,” Hurdle said. “We took a virtual tour in New York. That was a good opportunity for us.”
Sandberg, a proponent of using replay, thought the process took too long.
“I don’t think you can have the pitcher stand around and the players stand around,” he said. “For me, that took a long time.”
Phillippe Aumont, competing for a spot in the Philadelphia bullpen, gave up two runs in one-third of an inning. Aumont’s ERA this spring rose to 4.05. Control has been a problem for the right-hander, who has walked eight and thrown two wild pitches in 13 1-3 innings.
The Phillies optioned Aumont to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in the eighth inning. Papelbon has 12 strikeouts in nine innings with a 1.22 ERA this spring.
Pirates closer Jason Grilli pitched one scoreless inning, allowing a hit. Grilli has given up four hits in five scoreless innings this spring
Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte, who signed a six-year, $31 million contract Thursday, went 1-for-5.
The Phillies acquired infielder Jayson Nix from Tampa Bay for cash after the game. Nix is a career .218 hitter in 425 games over six seasons.
The teams are scheduled to play their final exhibition of the spring at 1:05 p.m. Saturday. Philadelphia opens its regular season at 2:05 p.m. Monday at Texas. The Pirates begin 2014 by hosting the Cubs at 1:05 on Monday.
Barry Bonds, Dick Groat and Jim Leyland are going to help the Pittsburgh Pirates honor their award winners from last season on opening day.
The former Pirates stars will be on hand Monday when Pittsburgh celebrates its first winning season and trip to the playoffs since 1992 before playing the Chicago Cubs.
Bonds, the 1992 NL MVP, and Groat, the 1960 winner, are set to give center fielder Andrew McCutchen his NL MVP award. The recently retired Leyland, Manager of the Year in 1990 and ’92 with the Pirates, will give Clint Hurdle the award he won for guiding last year’s club to a 94-68 record.
Jack Wilson, a 2004 Silver Slugger winner for best-hitting shortstop, is going to give McCutchen and third baseman Pedro Alvarez their Silver Sluggers.