Now Commenting On:

{"event":["spring_training" ] }

Barmes' blast backs strong pitching performances


BRADENTON, Fla. -- Clint Barmes broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the fifth inning and Brad Hawpe's two-run single keyed a five-run outburst in the sixth inning Sunday, when the Pirates downed the Braves, 9-2, in the first Grapefruit League game at expanded McKechnie Field.

Barmes singled sharply in the third and pulled his homer to left field off Braves reliever Johnny Venters after Gaby Sanchez led off the fifth with a double.

Starter James McDonald threw two hitless innings before five Pittsburgh pitchers, including rotation hopeful Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jason Grilli, finished the job against Atlanta.

Jason Heyward made it a 2-1 game with a homer off Mark Melancon in the top of the sixth before the Bucs (2-0) broke it open against David Carpenter, the fourth Atlanta (0-3) pitcher, in the bottom of the frame.

Clint Robinson contributed an RBI double to the rally, and Darren Ford drilled a run-scoring single as he improved to 4-for-5 this spring.

Grilli pitched a hitless fifth, recovering from a one-out walk of Ernesto Mejia to strike out Ramiro Pena and Reed Johnson.

Up Next for Pirates: Kyle McPherson saddles up for the Bucs' rotation derby as he starts in Fort Myers, Fla., against the Twins on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. He'll be watched closely, as he's trying to make it all the way back from an offseason bout of biceps tendinitis. Jeanmar Gomez, Phil Irwin, Erik Cordier, Chris Leroux, Kris Johnson and Kyle Waldrop are also on the Pirates' pitching schedule.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español