Morton dominant, Pirates beat Astros, 3-1
Charlie Morton pitched six shutout innings against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates went on to win the ballgame 3-1.
Morton, who only pitched four innings his last start, allowed just four hits (two in the first, two in the fifth innings), no runs and walked none with five strikeouts. His ERA this spring is just 1.29.
Morton became the first Bucs starter to finish six innings this spring.
Charlie Morton told Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune, “I got some good feedback from some of the guys in their clubhouse. When the hitters are saying, ‘You’re doing a good job getting me out,’ that’s good. Let’s stick with that.”
So what is the reasoning for all the success from Charlie? Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reports:
Pitching coach Ray Searage said that Morton has dropped down ever-so-slightly as he comes to the plate. Think of a clock — Charlie used to come from somewhere around where the 11 is. He is now dropped down just slightly, more around where the 10 would be. Searage imparted that is where Morton’s natural delivery — he feels — should come from and the angle that gives Charlie the best chance of getting people out. Looks like it has worked so far in spring training, huh?
Josh Fields doubled, then Ronny Cedeno hit a two-run homerun to left (his 2nd of the spring ) in the 2nd inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
Andy Marte singled and Ryan Doumit followed with an RBI double giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
The lone Astros run came in the ninth inning when Bengie Gonzalez, 20, who was up from minor league camp, committed an error.
Gonzalez went on to commit three more at shortstop over a span of three innings.
- Evan Meek (7th) and Chris Leroux (8th) each pitched a perfect inning of work.
- Mike Crotta allowed his first walk of the spring in the 9th inning. He has yet to allow an earned run this spring over 9.1 innings.
- Garrett Jones has been out of the lineup in four straight games. During the broadcast, Greg Brown said he aggravated his shoulder during a diving play.
- Paul Mahom will start against the Minnesota Twins on Monday. Garrett Olson (making his Pirates debut), Jose Veras and Sean Gallagher are scheduled to follow.
- Right-hander James McDonald threw a bullpen session on Sunday “without any issues” according to General Manager Neal Huntington on his radio show.