• My Scores
  • NFL
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • NBA

Atlanta at Pittsburgh

W: J. Grilli (1-0) L: J. Venters (0-1)
HR: ATL - J. Heyward (1)   PIT - C. Barmes (1)

Pirates 9, Braves 2


BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - James McDonald is hardly concerned about the crispness of his fastball or the break on his curveball. And for that matter, the Pittsburgh Pirates' right-hander isn't overly focused on controlling an opponent's running game at the moment.

All McDonald really wants out of spring training is to put the ball where it's supposed to go following a second half last season when the only place the ball seemed to go was the outfield and beyond.

McDonald took his tentative first steps toward putting the final two months of last year behind him, pitching a pair of scoreless innings Sunday in a 9-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

The 28-year-old walked one, struck out one and settled down in the second inning after needing 21 pitches to get through the first. He used just eight pitches to get three outs in the second, working a little faster than he's used to in an effort to keep his defense involved.

"When you slow the pace of the game up, it slows your defense up," McDonald said. "If you keep the game going, the pitches come a little faster, guys will be on their toes a little more and I'll probably be a little better."

Things certainly couldn't be much worse than the second half of last year, when he went 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA. The precision that helped him get off to a 10-3 start evaporated as the Pirates found themselves in the clutches of an actual postseason race.

Manager Clint Hurdle believes McDonald is the efficient guy who dazzled at times in the spring and early summer, not the one who limped to the finish.

An offseason that saw McDonald welcome his first child - a baby girl - helped put things in perspective. And with catcher Russell Martin keeping him on schedule, McDonald shook off a first-inning walk to Jason Heyward - who also hit a towering foul ball that traveled well over 400 feet - to get out of trouble.

"When it was up and away or up, I was able to make an adjustment and get it back down in the zone," McDonald said. "That's a big thing."

Clint Barmes went 2 for 2 with a two-run homer for the Pirates. Non-roster invitee Brad Hawpe added a two-run single.

Heyward hit a solo home run for the Braves. Julio Teheran struck out two in two innings but Atlanta fell to 0-3 in Grapefruit League play after the Pirates had their way with the Braves' relievers.

Teheran and Sean Gilmartin - who pitched two scoreless innings of his own - are in competition for fifth starter spot. Manager Fredi Gonzalez all but called it a draw and said the team plans to send the 22-year-olds out there in tandem at least once more.

The thing that impressed Gonzalez was that neither pitcher had great command but remained effective.

"(Teheran) pitched good and his stuff wasn't like I saw in the Dominican last time, which was good," Gonzalez said. "He got through it. Most of the time you've got to go out and pitch without your good stuff."

NOTES: Atlanta OF B.J. Upton went 2 for 3 with a double. CF Jordan Schafer added two hits for the Braves. ... New Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli, who got the win, struck out two and walked one in his first appearance of the spring. ... Atlanta plays Miami on Monday. Kris Medlen, who will start on opening day, is slated to work two innings for the Braves. ... Newly signed Pittsburgh reliever Jose Contreras, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, said he has no timetable for a return. The 41-year-old Contreras signed with Pittsburgh on Saturday. ... Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen went hitless in two at-bats.

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
Players of the Game

J. Heyward
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1

C. Barmes
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Atlanta Braves
Reed Johnson, CF3000022 .167
    Evan Gattis, LF2000012 .400
Jason Heyward, RF2111101 .250
    Joe Terdoslavich, RF0000100 .500
Justin Upton, LF3000010 .000
    Luis De La Cruz, C1000011 .000
Juan Francisco, 3B3000011 .000
    Joe Leonard, 3B1000001 .000
B.J. Upton, DH3020000 .400
   a- Jordan Parraz, PH-DH1000011 .250
Blake DeWitt, 2B3000101 .000
Gerald Laird, C2000000 .000
    Jordan Schafer, CF2120000 .333
Ernesto Mejia, 1B2000102 .200
Ramiro Pena, SS3010012 .143
    Tyler Pastornicky, SS1011000 .500
a-struck out for Upton in the 8th
2B - B.J. Upton (1, Sanchez), Jordan Schafer (1, Wilson), Ramiro Pena (1, Watson)
HR - Jason Heyward (1, Melancon)
RBI - Jason Heyward (1), Tyler Pastornicky (1)
2-OUT RBI - Tyler Pastornicky (1)
SB - Jason Heyward (1, 2nd base off McDonald/Martin), Jordan Schafer (1, 2nd base off Watson/T. Sanchez)
CS - Jordan Schafer (1, 3rd base by Watson/T. Sanchez)
PK - Blake DeWitt (1, Sanchez)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Francisco-Mejia
PB - Luis De La Cruz 2 (2)
E - Blake DeWitt (1, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Julio Teheran 2000120 0.00
Sean Gilmartin 2100020 0.00
Jonny Venters (L,0-1) 1322001 18.00
David Carpenter 0.2455000 67.50
Wirfin Obispo 0.1100010 0.00
David Hale 1000000 0.00
Aaron Northcraft 0.2122400 27.00
Juan Jaime 0.1000000 0.00
HBP - G. Sanchez (by Julio Teheran), Hague (by David Carpenter)
Pitches-Strikes - Julio Teheran 15-9, Sean Gilmartin 12-11, Jonny Venters 10-8, David Carpenter 8-6, Wirfin Obispo 4-4, David Hale 3-3, Aaron Northcraft 20-3, Juan Jaime 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Julio Teheran 1-2, Sean Gilmartin 2-2, Jonny Venters 2-1, David Carpenter 1-1, David Hale 3-0, Aaron Northcraft 2-0
Batters Faced - Julio Teheran 7, Sean Gilmartin 7, Jonny Venters 6, David Carpenter 7, Wirfin Obispo 2, David Hale 3, Aaron Northcraft 7, Juan Jaime 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Starling Marte, LF2000011 .250
   a- Darren Ford, PH-LF3022000 .800
Russell Martin, C1000111 .000
    Tony Sanchez, C2000112 .000
Andrew McCutchen, CF2000001 .000
    Felix Pie, CF2111100 .500
Pedro Alvarez, 3B2000001 .000
    Matt Hague, 3B2100003 .000
Neil Walker, 2B2000021 .000
    Ivan De Jesus Jr., 2B2111000 .333
Gaby Sanchez, 1B11100001.000
    Clint Robinson, 1B2221000 .500
Brandon Inge, DH2000002 .000
   b- Brad Hawpe, PH-DH1212100 .333
Jose Tabata, RF2000001 .000
    Jerry Sands, RF2000003 .250
Clint Barmes, SS21220001.000
    Jordy Mercer, SS1000101 .000
a-singled for Marte in the 5th
b-singled for Inge in the 6th
2B - Gaby Sanchez (1, Venters), Clint Robinson (1, Carpenter)
HR - Clint Barmes (1, Venters)
RBI - Darren Ford 2 (3), Felix Pie (2), Ivan De Jesus Jr. (1), Clint Robinson (1), Brad Hawpe 2 (2), Clint Barmes 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Darren Ford (1), Felix Pie (1), Clint Barmes 2 (2)
SB - Russell Martin (1, 2nd base off Teheran/Laird)
CS - Pedro Alvarez (1, 2nd base by Gilmartin/Laird)
Team LOB - 7
Pittsburgh Pirates
James McDonald 2000110 0.00
Jonathan Sanchez 2100120 0.00
Jason Grilli (W,1-0) 1000120 0.00
Mark Melancon (H,1) 1211001 9.00
Tony Watson (H,1) 1200000 0.00
Jared Hughes (H,1) 1000120 0.00
Justin Wilson 1211010 9.00
HBP - Mejia (by Jonathan Sanchez)
WP - Jonathan Sanchez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - James McDonald 12-8, Jonathan Sanchez 17-10, Jason Grilli 11-7, Mark Melancon 8-7, Tony Watson 5-4, Jared Hughes 11-7, Justin Wilson 7-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James McDonald 2-3, Mark Melancon 3-0
Batters Faced - James McDonald 7, Jonathan Sanchez 8, Jason Grilli 4, Mark Melancon 5, Tony Watson 4, Jared Hughes 4, Justin Wilson 5
Game Information
Attendance - 5626
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Chad Whitson, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Travis Carlson, Third Base - David Soucy