BRADENTON, Fla. -- Left-hander Brian Matusz fired blanks in two middle innings as the Orioles downed the Pirates, 6-3, in Grapefruit League action Friday night.
Matusz worked around two singles and struck out two, part of a nine-strikeout night by four pitchers as Baltimore improved to 9-2-1 in Grapefruit League play. Starter Wei-Yin Chen (1-0) fanned four in 2 1/3 innings, and Tommy Hunter picked up two strikeouts while allowing a hit in 1 2/3 innings.
The game -- the Bucs' only preseason home tilt under the stars -- drew 6,353, a record crowd for a Pirates night game at McKechnie Field.
The Pirates' (4-9) offense consisted of Starling Marte, who followed singles in the first and a walk in the third with stolen bases and scored both times -- on Jose Tabata's sacrifice fly and Pedro Alvarez's single, respectively.
The Orioles jumped into a 4-1 lead in the third on consecutive run-scoring hits by Jason Pridie, Travis Ishikawa and Trayvon Robinson off Pirates starter Kyle McPherson (0-1).
Lew Ford added a seventh-inning homer off Vic Black, making it 5-2.
Up next: A.J. Burnett, who has had a couple of rocky starts, makes his third of the spring as the Pirates host the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET at McKechnie Field on Saturday. Burnett has allowed four runs in each of those first two starts, in a total of 3 1/3 innings, but as a veteran, he knows how to pace himself in Spring Training and is ready to mix more curves into his repertoire. Jared Hughes, who has yet to allow a run in four appearances of an inning each, is due to be the first reliever.
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.