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Pirates 10, Phillies 4


Pirates 10, Phillies 4
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Andrew McCutchen is trying to push up the timetable for his arrival in Pittsburgh.

McCutchen, the former first-round draft pick targeted to begin the season in Triple-A, homered and hit three doubles while going 5-for-5, leading Ian Snell and the Pirates over the Philadelphia Phillies 10-4 Saturday.

"I don't think I've had five hits since rookie league," said McCutchen, who drove in two runs and scored three times. "It was amazing. I amaze myself."

Snell, roughed up for six runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings by Cincinnati on Sunday, gave up a tape-measure home run to Ryan Howard in the fourth inning but otherwise shut down the Phillies.

Snell permitted only one other hit, struck out five and walked three in six innings and left with a 7-1 lead.

About the only mistake the right-hander made was leaving a two-strike fastball over the plate to Howard, who took advantage of a strong wind to hit a shot over the batter's eye in center field. The drive easily cleared the billboard-sized backdrop and was the longest at McKechnie Field this spring.

"It was a loud crack," Snell said. "The wind helped it, but it still went far. It probably hit someone's car. I've never given up one that went that far. Not even (Albert) Pujols hit one like that, and he hit three off me in one game."

Howard won't have any trouble remembering his eighth homer of the spring.

"I got it up and it's kind of windy out there," Howard said. "It kept carrying."

And carrying, and carrying.

"I told him, 'Why did you have to hit it that far?"' said Snell, who became friends with Howard during the Philadelphia star's short stay in the minors.

That's what McCutchen is trying to have: A short stay in the minors. He didn't reach Triple-A until late in 2007 and didn't play his first full season there until last year, and the Pirates don't want to rush the 22-year-old.

"He's made some nice adjustments, but there still are some things he needs to work on, just like any other player," manager John Russell said. "You've got to be careful about a one-game evaluation. You've got to be careful about a spring training evaluation, good or bad. We're not going to jump into things at this point."

McCutchen singled home a run in the sixth on a play in which 46-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer couldn't beat him to the bag on a slowly hit ball.

McCutchen doesn't have one of those inflated spring training batting averages - he's at .308 - but Nyjer Morgan, scheduled to start the season as the Pirates' left fielder, is hitting .188. Morgan had a run-scoring single in his only at-bat.

McCutchen is hitting .432 (16-of-37) in his last 15 games and has two homers and seven RBIs overall.

Moyer struck out seven and walked one, a high strikeout total for him, but that was overshadowed by the 11 hits and seven runs he allowed in 5 2-3 innings. Moyer was the World Series champion Phillies' top winner last season, going 16-7.

The Phillies got to within 7-4 on Carlos Ruiz's three-run homer in the seventh against Denny Bautista, but Garrett Jones had a three-run drive in the eighth off Phillies closer Brad Lidge.

Notes: Howard gave teammate Geoff Jenkins a scare, lining a foul ball off Jenkins' ankle immediately before homering. Jenkins limped out of the on-deck circle, but stayed in the game. ... Lidge had allowed only one run in five appearances. ... The Pirates outhit the Phillies 14-4. ... Pirates SS Jack Wilson sat out after fouling a ball off a knee during a minor league game Friday. He also was pulled from a game Wednesday night due to an asthma attack.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 28, 2009

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