Pittsburgh at Houston


    Pirates 3, Astros 1


    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Charlie Morton solidified his spot in Pittsburgh's rotation with six shutout innings Sunday in the Pirates' 3-1 over a Houston Astros split squad.

    The Astros, meanwhile, eliminated left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith from the competition for their fifth starting spot.

    Morton, coming off a 2-12 season, gave up four singles and struck out five in dropping his spring ERA to 1.29. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle called it "our best outing of the spring."

    Hurdle wasn't around to see Morton post a 7.57 ERA last season, but he has seen something quite different this spring.

    "Just the overall demeanor of the man has looked very good and clean to me," Hurdle said. "So I don't have anything else to compare it to, but he definitely was very aggressive today."

    Ronny Cedeno hit a two-run home run off Rowland-Smith in the first inning, but the Astros had decided before the game to send Rowland-Smith to the bullpen.

    That leaves rookie Jordan Lyles, Nelson Figueroa, Lance Pendleton and Aneury Rodriguez in nominal competition for the fifth spot, although Pendleton has yet to pitch beyond two innings.

    "There's times I don't make good pitches when I need to, but that's spring training. It's always been that way for me," said Rowland-Smith, who pitched two innings in his final start. "I just want to have a good week and a half and embrace whatever role they give me and contribute."

    Lyles followed Rowland-Smith with 3 2-3 innings, giving up one run and striking out four.

    Lyles had the best hit of the day off Morton, driving a ball into the left-field corner in the fifth inning. But he pulled up after reaching first base, thinking the ball had gone out when first-base coach Cesar Cedeno said, "Good job."

    Notes: Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who missed his last start due to tendinitis in his shoulder, threw lightly Sunday morning and is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday. ... Pirates OF Garrett Jones took some treatment for minor neck stiffness Sunday. ... The Astros' Koby Clemens had to leave the game after fouling a pitch off his knee in the ninth inning. ... Steve Pearce, who had two hits for the Pirates, in eight for his last 15.

    Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
    CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Related Video

    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Jose Tabata, CF3000110 .222
        Pedro Ciriaco, CF0000000 .364
    Steve Pearce, 3B4020002 .306
        Corey Wimberly, 2B0000000 .207
    Neil Walker, 2B4000002 .196
        Evan Meek, P0000000 .000
        Chris Leroux, P0000000 .000
        Mike Crotta, P0000000 .000
    Matt Diaz, RF3010010 .300
        Cole White, RF1000000 .333
    Andy Marte, 1B3110002 .370
        Garrett Atkins, 1B1000000 .129
    Ryan Doumit, C3011010 .182
        Jason Jaramillo, C1000000 .500
    Josh Fields, LF3110011 .172
        Robert Grossman, LF10100001.000
    Ronny Cedeno, SS3112000 .237
        Benjamin Gonzalez, SS1000011 .000
    Charlie Morton, P2000010 .000
       a- Josh Rodriguez, PH-3B2000001 .304
    a-fouled out for Morton in the 7th
    2B - Josh Fields (1, Rowland-Smith)
    3B - Ryan Doumit (1, Lyles)
    HR - Ronny Cedeno (2, Rowland-Smith)
    RBI - Ryan Doumit (4), Ronny Cedeno 2 (4)
    2-OUT RBI - Ryan Doumit (2)
    Team LOB - 6
    Outfield Assists - Josh Fields 1
    E - Benjamin Gonzalez 4 (4, Misplayed grounder)
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Charlie Morton (W,1-0) 6400050 1.29
    Evan Meek (H,1) 1000000 6.75
    Chris Leroux (H,1) 1000000 4.70
    Mike Crotta (S,1) 1110100 0.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Morton 31-31, Evan Meek 4-4, Chris Leroux 5-5, Mike Crotta 11-7
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Morton 7-5, Evan Meek 2-2, Chris Leroux 3-2, Mike Crotta 3-1
    Batters Faced - Charlie Morton 21, Evan Meek 4, Chris Leroux 5, Mike Crotta 6
    Houston Astros
    Michael Bourn, CF3000001 .238
        Brandon Barnes, CF1000000 .500
    Anderson Hernandez, 2B4000021 .250
    Hunter Pence, RF3010010 .356
        Fernando Abad, P0000000 .000
        Sergio Escalona, P0000000 .000
       a- J.B. Shuck, PH1000002 .265
        Enerio Del Rosario, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Lee, 1B3000011 .231
        Koby Clemens, 1B0000000 .087
       b- Jose Vallejo, PH1000000 .000
    Brian Bogusevic, LF-RF4100010 .214
    Matt Downs, SS4010000 .286
    Oswaldo Navarro, 3B3000101 .120
        Wladimir Sutil, PR0000000 .000
    Humberto Quintero, C2020000 .440
        Carlos Corporan, C1001000 .400
    Ryan Rowland-Smith, P0000000 .000
        Jordan Lyles, P10100011.000
        Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
        Collin Delome, LF2000002 .000
    a-grounded out for Escalona in the 8th
    b-grounded out for Clemens in the 9th
    SF - Carlos Corporan (1)
    SH - Jordan Lyles (1)
    RBI - Carlos Corporan (4)
    Team LOB - 8
    DP - Navarro-A. Hernandez-Clemens
    E - Jordan Lyles (1, Misplayed grounder)
    Houston Astros
    Ryan Rowland-Smith (L,1-2) 2422101 6.55
    Jordan Lyles 3.2211040 1.98
    Wesley Wright 0.1000000 11.37
    Fernando Abad 1100010 7.94
    Sergio Escalona 1000000 10.13
    Enerio Del Rosario 1100010 0.00
    Pitches-Strikes - Ryan Rowland-Smith 16-11, Jordan Lyles 22-22, Wesley Wright 1-1, Fernando Abad 6-6, Sergio Escalona 3-3, Enerio Del Rosario 5-5
    Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ryan Rowland-Smith 1-5, Jordan Lyles 2-6, Sergio Escalona 3-0, Enerio Del Rosario 1-0
    Batters Faced - Ryan Rowland-Smith 11, Jordan Lyles 14, Wesley Wright 1, Fernando Abad 4, Sergio Escalona 3, Enerio Del Rosario 3
    Game Information
    Attendance - 4117
    Game Time - 2:23
    Temperature - 79
    Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Mark Lollo