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Pittsburgh at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (10-14)0140103009163
Atlanta (15-11) «52016130x18212

Braves 18, Pirates 9

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons each hit two home runs and the Atlanta Braves bopped the Pittsburgh Pirates 18-9 Wednesday.

Freeman went 4 for 4 and drove in four runs. He's hit five of his seven spring homers in the past six games and is batting .373 (22 for 59) this spring.

Simmons also doubled in his first game back from the World Baseball Classic.

Braves starter Mike Minor allowed 10 hits, including a homer by Andrew McCutchen, and five runs in four innings. He walked three and struck out five.

Kyle McPherson, competing for a spot in the Pirates' rotation, gave up 10 hits and nine runs in 4 2-3 innings.

Freddie Freeman was already fitting in nicely in the cleanup spot for Atlanta. Now, the Braves also have leadoff batter Andrelton Simmons back and he's hitting well, too.

Simmons, who just returned from the World Baseball Classic, and Freeman each hit two home runs to help the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 18-9 on Wednesday.

"It's the way you want to start back," said the young shortstop, who also had a double. "I hope I didn't waste all my home runs."

The Braves finished with 21 hits and have totaled 35 runs in their past two games.

"That's a quality lineup over there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Braves don't count on the slick-fielding Simmons for homers. But they need Freeman to continue his spring power surge into the season as he takes over the fourth spot in the batting order.

"He one of the most naturally talented young hitters in baseball," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I'm not surprised (with what he's doing)."

The first baseman, who has five of his seven spring homers in his past six games, was 4 for 4 and drove in four runs. He is batting .373 (22 for 59) and has 15 RBIs.

"He looks great," Simmons said. "He is really swinging good."

So is the native of Curacao. The Netherlands was the surprise team of the WBC, reaching the semifinals, and Simmons was one of the big reasons for the team's success.

Simmons batted .333 with three doubles, two homers, six RBIs and 10 runs scored in eight WBC games.

"We had a blast," the 23-year-old said. "I didn't expect it to be that fun. I didn't expect the team to be that good. It was great."

The high-pressure games also prepared Simmons for his first full major league season. "I feel more like game ready," he said.

Gonzalez certainly liked what he saw of the player who is replacing Michael Bourn as the Braves' leadoff hitter.

"He had some great at-bats," said the manager, adding. "It wasn't like he'd been on vacation."

The Braves scored six first-inning runs en route to a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday and pickup up right where they had left off with five first-inning runs against the Pirates after an off day on Tuesday.

Kyle McPherson, competing for a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation, was the victim this time. He worked 4 2-3 innings and gave up 10 hits and nine runs (eight earned).

"He was trying to follow a game plan and that was problematic," Hurdle said. "Command was up early. The execution part of the arsenal was really inconsistent. That's what went sideways on him."

Braves starter Mike Minor drove in the final first-inning run with a double, but he had his own struggles on the mound. The left-hander gave up 10 hits and five runs in four innings, walking three and striking out five.

Andrew McCutchen hit a homer off Minor in the third inning and was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. The Pirates had 16 hits, but 14 were singles.

NOTES: Jordan Walden, who has been battling back issues, made his first appearance for the Braves since Feb. 23 and allowed a run in the fifth inning. He walked two and allowed a hit. ... The Pirates acquired John McDonald from Arizona as a backup middle infielder after Chase d'Arnaud had to undergo surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb and will be sidelined up to two months. ... Wandy Rodriguez, who returned to Pirates camp on Monday from the WBC, is slated to throw 85-90 pitches in a minor league game in Bradenton on Thursday. He was 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA for the champion Dominican Republic. ... The Pirates play the Orioles at Sarasota on Thursday night, with Jonathan Sanchez scheduled to start. ... The Braves sent reliever Dusty Hughes to the minor-league camp, reducing the spring roster to 40. ... Tim Hudson will start when the Braves host the Nationals in a night game Thursday.

 
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

A. McCutchen
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Atlanta

F. Freeman
AB 4
R 3
H 4
HR 2
RBI 4
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF4011034 .350
    Felix Pie, LF2120000 .324
Jose Tabata, RF2110200 .237
    Vin Mazzaro, P0000000 .000
    Josh Harrison, 3B1000101 .276
Andrew McCutchen, CF4122001 .212
    Alex Presley, CF1012000 .316
Garrett Jones, 1B4110013 .261
    Brad Hawpe, 1B1000002 .152
Neil Walker, 2B3110101 .242
    Tim Alderson, P0000000 .000
    Ivan De Jesus Jr., SS1000010 .387
Brandon Inge, 3B-2B5120022 .156
Jordy Mercer, SS3120100 .409
    Carlos Paulino, C1000000 .167
Michael McKenry, C1113100 .308
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   a- Jared Goedert, PH1000000 .214
Kyle McPherson, P3011011 .333
    Travis Snider, RF2110000 .273
Totals39916968  
a-grounded out for Hughes in the 9th
Batting
3B - Jordy Mercer (1, Carpenter)
HR - Andrew McCutchen (2, Minor)
SF - Michael McKenry 2 (2)
RBI - Starling Marte (1), Andrew McCutchen 2 (8), Alex Presley 2 (7), Michael McKenry 3 (4), Kyle McPherson (1)
2-OUT RBI - Starling Marte (1), Alex Presley 2 (3)
SB - Michael McKenry (1, 2nd base off Walden/Gattis)
CS - Jose Tabata (2, 2nd base by Walden/Gattis)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
E - Jordy Mercer (2, Throwing), Felix Pie (1, Misplayed grounder), Neil Walker (2, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle McPherson (L,0-2) 4.21098032 8.31
Vin Mazzaro 1866022 10.57
Tim Alderson 0.1000000 0.00
Tony Watson 1333011 23.63
Jared Hughes 1000010 1.08
HBP - Uggla (by Kyle McPherson)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle McPherson 35-32, Vin Mazzaro 23-19, Tim Alderson 1-1, Tony Watson 8-8, Jared Hughes 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle McPherson 3-9, Vin Mazzaro 1-0, Tony Watson 1-1, Jared Hughes 2-0
Batters Faced - Kyle McPherson 26, Vin Mazzaro 11, Tim Alderson 1, Tony Watson 6, Jared Hughes 3
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andrelton Simmons, SS4334002 .333
   a- Ramiro Pena, PH-SS2000012 .257
Jason Heyward, RF4221010 .250
    Jose Constanza, LF2000012 .000
Justin Upton, LF4211001 .288
    Joe Terdoslavich, 1B1110000 .432
Freddie Freeman, 1B4344000 .373
    Jordan Schafer, CF1110000 .255
B.J. Upton, CF4111011 .386
    David Carpenter, P0000000 .000
   b- Jordan Parraz, PH1113000 .306
    Tyler Pastornicky, 2B0000000 .396
Dan Uggla, 2B3320000 .207
    Blake DeWitt, 2B-3B1000010 .206
Chris Johnson, 3B5022001 .352
    Wirfin Obispo, P0000000 .000
    Cole McCurry, P0000000 .000
Evan Gattis, C5010013 .357
    Christian Bethancourt, C0000000 .133
Mike Minor, P2011010 .333
    Jordan Walden, P0000000 .000
   c- Reed Johnson, PH-RF3110001 .182
Totals4618211707  
a-struck out for Simmons in the 6th
b-homered for Carpenter in the 7th
c-singled for Walden in the 5th
Batting
2B - Andrelton Simmons (1, McPherson), Jason Heyward (2, Mazzaro), Freddie Freeman (1, McPherson), Mike Minor (1, McPherson)
HR - Andrelton Simmons 2 (2, McPherson, Mazzaro), Freddie Freeman 2 (7, McPherson, Mazzaro), Jordan Parraz (2, Watson)
RBI - Andrelton Simmons 4 (4), Jason Heyward (5), Justin Upton (16), Freddie Freeman 4 (15), B.J. Upton (9), Jordan Parraz 3 (5), Chris Johnson 2 (11), Mike Minor (2)
2-OUT RBI - Andrelton Simmons 3 (3), Justin Upton (7), Freddie Freeman 2 (3), Mike Minor (1)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - B.J. Upton 1
DP - Terdoslavich-Simmons
E - Ramiro Pena (3, Throwing), Andrelton Simmons (1, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Minor (W,2-0) 41055351 5.50
Jordan Walden (H,1) 1111210 9.00
David Carpenter (H,4) 2433100 12.96
Wirfin Obispo (H,1) 1000020 0.00
Cole McCurry 1100000 0.00
WP - Jordan Walden (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 44-31, Jordan Walden 16-5, David Carpenter 14-10, Wirfin Obispo 7-7, Cole McCurry 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 1-5, David Carpenter 4-2, Cole McCurry 1-2
Batters Faced - Mike Minor 24, Jordan Walden 5, David Carpenter 11, Wirfin Obispo 3, Cole McCurry 4
Game Information
Attendance - 6414
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Sam Holbrook