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Wednesday November 25 2015
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Pirates lose opener to O's

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Casey McGehee and Neil Walker led a Pirates' offense that had 10 hits and 6 runs, but the pitching and defense faltered and the Bucs lost in Baltimore 8-6 Tuesday night.

The Baltimore Orioles posted 15 hits and smacked three homeruns to defeat the Pirates 8-6. Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones went 4-for-5 on the night with a homerun in the fifth inning to lead the Baltimore offense. Casey McGehee went 2-for-3 with homerun in the sixth for the Buccos.

The Pirates opened the scoring in the top of the first when Andrew McCutchen reached first on a grounder to third with two outs. He then stole second and McGehee walked to put runners on first and second for Pittsburgh. Matt Hauge followed with a single to Jones in center, driving in McCutchen to make the score 1-0. McGehee was left stranded on third as Pedro Alvarez was called out on strikes.

Baltimore answered in the second as Jones doubled to Alex Presley in left to lead off the inning. A solo homerun from Mark Reynolds with two outs put the Orioles up 2-1.

The Orioles continued to stay hot in the third as J. Hardy singled to McCutchen in center with two outs and advanced to third on a line drive single by Chris Davis to Jose Tabata in right.  Jones then singled on a soft fly ball to center, bringing in Hardy and putting Davis on third. Matt Weiters walked to load the bases, but Wilson Betemit went down looking for the third out, the score remained 3-1.

Baltimore produced another run in the fifth on Jones’ solo homerun over the left field fence, giving the Orioles a three-run cushion with a 4-1 lead. The Buccos answered right back in the top of the sixth as leadoff batter McGehee homered over right field to cut the O’s lead to 4-2.

The Orioles came up big in the bottom of the sixth as ex-Pirate Steve Pearce reached first on an overthrow to first base from shortstop Clint BarmesEndy Chavez singled on a bunt to Christ Resop on the mound, advancing Chavez to second. Pearce safely reached third after another throwing error, this time from Resop

With the bases loaded again for Baltimore, Brian Roberts drove in Pearce on a sacrifice fly to Tabata in right. Hardy kept the momentum going with a single to Tabata and pinch runner Ryan Flaherty scored. The hits didn’t stop there as Davis homered to right center with a man on to increase the lead to 8-2.

Not going down without a fight, the Pirates came back with two more runs in the seventh. Leadoff batter Barmes singled to left and Presley doubled to Jones in center, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. Neil Walker grounded out to short, but drove in Barmes and moved Presley to third, tipping the score to 8-3.

After a pitching change for Baltimore, McCutchen flew out to Flaherty in right to score Presley and cut the Orioles’ lead even more with a score of 8-4. Pittsburgh had one more shot to come back in the top of the ninth when O’s pitcher Kevin Gregg walked Presley and Walker homered to left center. With one out, McCutchen went down swinging and McGehee grounded out to Robert Andino at third to end the game and make the final score 8-6 in favor of Baltimore.

Neil Walker’s contract expires after the 2016 season. The Pirates second baseman is due for a big raise in arbitration this offseason—likely to $10 million—and signing him to a long-term extension will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million annually.
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