Houston at Pittsburgh

Scoreboard
Houston (5-3)004010010681
Pittsburgh (3-6) «05001200x880

Pirates 8, Astros 6

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BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Since Jose Tabata lost his starting right fielder's job midway through last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have traded for two outfielders capable of taking his spot in the lineup.

Message received.

Tabata lost 15 pounds in the offseason and has been the talk of the Pirates' spring training camp. On Sunday, he keyed a five-run second inning with a two-run double to help the Pirates build a big lead before holding on for an 8-6 victory over the Houston Astros.

Tabata is 4 for 13 with three doubles and a home run.

"I feel good about what I'm doing," Tabata said. "I'm hitting the ball hard consistently and I feel like I'm in really good physical shape. I feel like I'm ready to have a good season."

Tabata hit just .243 with three home runs in 103 games last season, the first year of a six-year, $15-million contract. He wound up spending six weeks at Triple-A Indianapolis at midseason and is competing with Travis Snider and Jerry Sands for a lineup spot.

The Pirates acquired Snider from the Toronto Blue Jays last July and Sands from the Boston Red Sox in December.

"This kid is moving around and playing like the way we know he can again," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's looking real good - on the bases, in the outfield, in the batter's box. He looks fresher, cleaner, more powerful."

John Ely, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in an offseason trade, started for Houston and was tagged for five runs - three earned - in 1 2-3 innings.

"I felt good and the ball was down for the most part," said Ely, competing for a spot in a wide-open Houston rotation. "I'm healthy and I feel good and, honestly, that's really all I care about at this point in the spring."

Pittsburgh rookie Kyle McPherson is also trying to win a rotation spot and he gave up four runs in 2 2-3 innings. He allowed two hits and three walks while striking out two.

McPherson said he also is not worried about spring training statistics.

"I don't think you can put a lot of stock in the numbers down here," McPherson said. "It's about getting ready for the season. I think it's misleading if you're going to try to make any evaluations strictly through statistical analysis in spring training. There were a few pitches that could have gone either way that I walked guy on but I felt good with the way I threw."

Brett Wallace hit a three-run double for Houston, which had won three straight. Pittsburgh ended a six-game skid.

NOTES: The game-time temperature was 52 degrees but Houston manager Bo Porter didn't mind. Porter said when he was playing at the University of Iowa the Hawkeyes once played a game at Kansas in 17 degrees. . Jordan Lyles, another pitcher competing for a spot in the Astros' rotation, allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings . Pittsburgh catcher Tony Sanchez had two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs, and second baseman Neil Walker also had two hits. . Sands and Houston shortstop Tyler Green each scored two runs. . Pirates closer Jason Grilli pitched one perfect inning then headed to the airport to catch a flight to Phoenix where he was to join Italy for the World Baseball Classic. . Pittsburgh catcher Ali Solis has decided not to play for Mexico in the WBC because he has been experiencing back spasms.

 
Copyright 2014 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.
 
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Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Tabata
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

B. Wallace
AB 2
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Houston Astros
Tyler Greene , 2B3210102.1430.4000.214
  Jose Martinez , PR-3B1000000.3330.3330.556
Jacob Elmore , SS5111022.2350.2780.294
Chris Carter , 1B3110001.1880.2780.375
Brett Wallace , 1B2013100.4380.5260.813
a-Nate Freiman , PH-1B1000011.2780.2780.389
J.D. Martinez , LF2011101.3530.4210.647
Carlos Corporan , C3000013.4550.4550.636
b-Rene Garcia , PH-C1000001.3330.5000.333
Brandon Laird , 3B3000010.4290.5560.929
Robbie Grossman , CF1110100.4620.5880.692
Jonathan Villar , DH3000123.0630.2110.063
Brandon Barnes , CF2000001.3530.3890.765
Fernando Martinez , LF1110000.3330.3330.667
Jimmy Paredes , RF1011000.1330.1760.200
Delino DeShields , 2B1000001.1250.1250.125
Totals336865716
a-Struck out looking for B Wallace in the 7th.
b-Grounded out for C Corporan in the 8th.
BATTING
2B - B Wallace (3); J Paredes (1)
RBI - J Elmore (1); B Wallace 3 (7); J Martinez (4); J Paredes (3)
BASERUNNING
SB - R Grossman (2)
CS - J Martinez (1)
Houston Astros
John Ely 1.235332012.27
Sam Demel 0.100010032.40
Mike Foltynewicz 1.00001100.00
Jordan Lyles (L,0-2) 2.133212016.62
Chia-Jen Lo 0.20000000.00
Edgar Gonzalez 2.02000302.25
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Tabata , RF3112010.3080.3570.769
Clint Barmes , SS3000000.2220.2220.556
Andrew McCutchen , CF0100300.1430.4000.143
Pedro Alvarez , 3B3000013.0830.0830.167
Neil Walker , 2B3121010.2220.3000.222
Garrett Jones , 1B2110101.2500.3080.250
Brad Hawpe , 1B3000023.0910.2310.091
a-Clint Robinson , PH-DH1000000.2730.2730.364
Jerry Sands , RF2210100.2000.2500.200
Tony Sanchez , C2212100.2500.5000.500
Josh Harrison , LF0001000.0000.0830.000
Chase d'Arnaud , SS2000013.3000.2730.400
Felix Pie , CF1000010.3570.4000.786
Gaby Sanchez , 3B1000000.5000.5831.200
Ivan De Jesus , 2B1000010.3000.3640.400
Matt Hague , 1B1000000.1430.2000.143
Brett Carroll , RF1010000.5000.6671.000
Lucas May , C1010000.4000.4550.500
Totals308866810
a-Popped out for B Hawpe in the 8th.
BATTING
2B - J Tabata (3); B Carroll (1)
3B - T Sanchez (1)
RBI - J Tabata 2 (3); N Walker (1); T Sanchez 2 (2); J Harrison (1)
SF - J Harrison (1)
BASERUNNING
CS - A McCutchen (1)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Kyle McPherson 2.22443207.71
Kyle Waldrop 0.11000000.00
Jason Grilli 1.00000106.00
Bryan Morris (W,1-0) 1.01112103.86
Justin Wilson 2.02000101.93
Brooks Brown (S,2) 2.02110201.93
Game Information
Attendance - 4112
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 52
Umpires - Home - Chad Fairchild, First Base - David Soucy, Second Base - David Rackley, Third Base - Toby Basner