McCutchen is hitless in return; Pearce homers as Orioles defeat Pirates 9-2



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BRADENTON, Florida — Andrew McCutchen was hitless in two at-bats in his return to the Pirates' lineup, and Steve Pearce homered against his former team to lead the Baltimore Orioles over Pittsburgh 9-2 Tuesday.

McCutchen, the 2013 NL MVP, was out 10 days with lower body soreness. He has a .143 batting average in six spring training games.

"Same old same," McCutchen said. "I'm good to go. It's good to be back. I'll be comfortable in no time."

Manager Clint Hurdle said he has no concerns McCutchen, who is batting .143 in six spring training games, will be ready for opening day.

"He's in a good place," Hurdle said. "He'll get the innings he needs, and he'll get the innings in the outfield he needs."

Orioles starter Ubaldo Jiminez had his best outing of spring, striking out three and allowing four hits in five scoreless innings. He struck out McCutchen swinging to end the fourth.

"He's one of the greatest hitters in the game right now," Jimenez said. "He battled. It was one of those things that one time it goes your way, one time it doesn't."

The Orioles scored five runs in the fourth inning off reliever Jared Hughes.

Pearce led off with a long home run to left field, Jimmy Paredes doubled, and Delmon Young, Chris Davis, Everth Cabrera and Ryan Flaherty singled to chase Hughes after seven batters and just one out.

Right-hander Radhames Liz, who the Pirates intend to use as a long reliever this season, allowed four hits in three innings. He induced three double-play grounders.

The Orioles had 16 hits. Davis and Flaherty had three apiece, Davis and Pearce two.

"Guys are starting to get into a little bit of a groove offensively," manager Buck Showalter said. "They're hitting the balls they should be hitting."

STARTING TIME

Orioles: Jimenez, who was 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 2014, said he felt in command. "When I'm on the mound right now, I don't even think of the mechanics or anything," he said. "I'm just trying to get people out. ... Everything is where it's supposed to be."

Pirates: RHP Radhames Liz, who the Pirates intend to use as a long reliever this season, allowed four hits in three innings. He induced three double-play grounders.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: OF David Lough was a late scratch because of back spasms. ... C Matt Wieters, who won't be available to start the season because of right elbow tendinitis, isn't sure if he'll travel with Baltimore or remain in Sarasota, Florida, to rehab.

"Opening day was always the goal," Wieters said. "It was always something that I was shooting for just because throughout the course of a long offseason, you want to have that end goal in sight.

"I think once I came to terms that probably wasn't going to be the best thing for my arm as well as for the team at that point, it was a little bit easier to sit back and say, 'OK, now let's just let it calm down and when it's ready, it's ready,'" he said.

Pirates: C Chris Stewart began his return to baseball activity today after missing a week with a right hamstring injury. Stewart took infield and batting practice. He is expected to be out of game action for another 10 days.

UP NEXT

Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen gets his fourth Grapefruit League start when he opposes Toronto RHP Aaron Sanchez. Chen has a 2.16 ERA in 8 1-3 innings this spring.

Pirates: After an off day, RHP Vance Worley is the planned starter Thursday against Atlanta's Wandy Rodriguez at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. Rodriguez made 30 starts for the Pirates over the past three years before being released last May.

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