An implosion by non-roster reliever Ryota Igarashi allowed the Astros to pick up three crucial ninth-inning runs and eventually win the game, but James McDonald pitched seven excellent innings in the Pirates’ 5-4, 10-inning Spring Training loss to the Astros Saturday.
McDonald pitched a no-hitter through five innings before allowing a single to Travis Buck in the sixth. Over seven innings, he struck out three and walked none while allowing one run. McDonald doesn’t pitch seven full innings very often, and his command had been shaky in previous Spring Training starts, so his fine performance on Saturday had to be encouraging for the Pirates.
The Bucs got two first-inning runs, then an eighth-inning, two-run homer by Garrett Jones in the eighth inning.
Igarashi came in with a 4-1 lead in the ninth and walked two batters, then allowed a three-run homer by Scott Moore. Minor-leaguer Kris Johnson pitched in the 10th and gave up two walks of his own, followed by an error by minor-league shortstop Josh Rodriguez that scored the winning run.
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