3/24/2013 5:02 P.M. ET
Bucs' comeback falls short after O's eight-run first
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Steve Pearce broke a tie with his sixth homer of the spring in the seventh inning Sunday and added an RBI single in the ninth, lifting the Orioles, who blew an eight-run first-inning lead, past the Pirates, 12-10, in their Grapefruit League matchup.
The 21-run outburst -- interrupted by a 15-minute rain delay in the eighth -- came only three days after the teams met, playing scoreless baseball in a 10-inning tie.
Pedro Alvarez's two-run double capped a five-run sixth and pulled the Pirates even at 10 apiece before Pearce took Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski deep in the seventh.
Chris Dickerson's grand slam and Alexi Casilla's three RBIs helped the Orioles build a 9-2 lead after two innings.
The Orioles' eight-run first featured Dickerson's slam and victimized both halves of the Bucs' battery. Starter Chris Leroux, filling in for an injured Jeff Karstens, was charged with all eight runs -- seven earned -- and recorded only one out. Catcher Russell Martin was ejected by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild for objecting to his ball-and-strike calls.
Andrew McCutchen hit his third spring homer to begin the Pirates' comeback in the bottom of the first. Gaby Sanchez drove in three runs, and Lucas May, who replaced Martin after his ejection, had three hits and two RBIs.
Left-hander Brian Matusz, competing for a spot in Baltimore's rotation, allowed nine hits and five runs in four innings, letting the Pirates back into the game. Pittsburgh completed its comeback against reliever Troy Patton, who allowed five earned runs and recorded only two outs.
Leroux hadn't allowed a run this spring in seven innings, thus his ERA went from 0.00 to 8.59.
Trayvon Robinson contributed an RBI single to the Orioles' big first inning, but immediately had to leave the game for a pinch-runner with an apparent injury to his left side.
Up next: The Pirates travel to Port Charlotte, Fla., on Monday, for their final night game of the spring, meeting the Rays at 7:05 p.m. ET in a game available on Gameday Audio. Kyle McPherson is scheduled to make a start crucial to his chances to land a spot in the rotation, trying to rebound from his very rocky outing against the Braves, who roughed him up Wednesday with 10 hits and eight runs in 4 2/3 innings.
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.