Clearwater, FL – The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 at Bright House Field before a packed house yesterday afternoon.
The approximately 9,500 fans braved unseasonably cold Florida temperatures throughout the game. The scoreboard claimed it was 58 degrees, but for other than those fans lucky enough to be sitting in the sun in the first five rows or so in the not-so-bright House, it felt much chillier than that.
Boston Red Sox castoff Aaron Cook pitched three scoreless innings for the Phillies and gave up only one hit. He was really bailed out by center fielder Ender Inciarte who threw out Pirates first baseman Brad Hawpe at the plate in the second inning, with catcher Erik Kratz making the assist.
Cook is trying to make the team as the “sixth” starter although he is expected to be throwing in Triple A as the new season gets underway. Pirates’ starter Kyle McPherson tossed five scoreless innings for the visitors. Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard went 1-3 with a sacrifice fly, driving in the game’s first run in the sixth. Chase Utley went 2-4. Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen had one hit in three at bats. The Pirates tied the game when Neil Walker, the Pirates second baseman, scored on a wild pitch by Phillippe Aumont. The teams combined for 16 hits despite the low-scoring outcome. The Pirates left 8 men on base; the Phillies stranded 5.
Other highlights: Third baseman Pete Orr slugged a solo homer for the Phillies in the eighth off of Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski which proved to the winning run. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless sixth with two strikeouts.
So far in Spring Training action, the Phillies have an 8-10 overall record, 5-5 in their home stadium at Bright House Field. The Pirates, who train at McKechnie Field in nearby Bradenton, are 8-11, with a 4-5 record in away games so far in this year’s pre-season action.
Both teams are looking for bounce-back years after a disappointing 2012 campaign. The Phillies finished in 3rd place in the NL East with a record of 81-81 after winning the division in 2011. The Pirates, with a 79-83 record, were fourth in the NL Central after fading badly in the second half of the season.
The Phillies moved to Bright House Field in 2004 after many years at Jack Russell Stadium (both in Clearwater). A sculpture titled The Ace by artist Kevin Brady (see above) stands at the ballpark’s west entrance plaza. To some degree, Bright House Field appears to be a smaller replica of Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies play their regular season home games in Philadephia.
The Phillies’ Pete Orr crosses home plate with what proved to be the winning run in the Spring Training game against the Pirates:
Do you think the Phillies and the Pirates will be more competitive in the upcoming 2013 MLB season?
[All photos by Robert Jonathan]