FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Eight innings and three starts into his Grapefruit League season, Twins right-hander Carl Pavano has yet to allow a run.
The 17-game winner from a season ago finally allowed a walk on Tuesday afternoon -- his first of the spring -- but Pavano was nonetheless outstanding in four innings at Hammond Stadium, holding the Pirates to two hits and striking out a pair.
Pittsburgh put up a three-spot in the ninth for a 5-2 win over Minnesota. Pedro Ciriaco broke a 2-2 tie with a sacrifice fly, and pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo hit an opposite-field two-run single to end the scoring.
Pavano's biggest jam -- a two-on, two-out situation with Jose Tabata at the plate in the third inning -- ended with some help from catcher Drew Butera. He caught Pittsburgh's Ronny Cedeno trying to steal third base for the third out. Butera, who went 1-for-2 at the plate, also caught Cedeno trying to steal third again to end the fifth inning.
The Pirates' pitching was equally effective early, and both sides managed just two hits apiece through four innings. Likely to be ticketed for Triple-A Indianapolis, Pittsburgh starter Brian Burres was perfect for six outs -- only one of those was recorded in the outfield. The left-hander isn't too far off from Pavano's pace: He's thrown six scoreless innings this spring.
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Pittsburgh opened a 1-0 lead in the fifth on Ryan Doumit's sacrifice fly to center. Neil Walker started the inning with a walk, and Cedeno singled two batters later off Yorman Bazardo, the first pitcher on in relief of Pavano.
A Luke Hughes sac fly tied it for Minnesota in the sixth and Matthew Brown's RBI double later in the inning brought the lead to 2-1, but it was short-lived. Lyle Overbay's solo homer tied it at 2 for the Pirates in the seventh.
Up next for the Pirates: Kevin Correia is expected to go four innings in his start against the Yankees' Bartolo Colon in Tampa, Fla., at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
"It's always exciting when you play a team like the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox," Garrett Jones said. "It is Spring Training, but because we don't get to play them in the regular season, it is exciting to get a chance to play them in Spring Training."
Up next for the Twins: Francisco Liriano is set to make his first Grapefruit League start of the year on Wednesday in a 12:05 p.m. CT contest in Sarasota, Fla. He pitched in a "B" game vs. the Rays his last time out.
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.