LeMahieu HR ends inning, no more early exits for pitchers

Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher JT Brubaker delivers during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

New York Yankees star DJ LeMahieu launched a three-run homer, and that was all for Pittsburgh starter JT Brubaker.

Brubaker walked off the mound with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, having thrown 49 pitches Saturday. And taking advantage of a rule put in place for early spring training games, the rest of the Pirates left the field, too.

Starting Sunday, no more “roll over” breaks like that. Managers won’t be able to call off innings at any point to protect hurlers because of high pitch counts.

That’s fine with Texas skipper Chris Woodward.

“Now that we can’t, it’s no longer an option. So we’ve either got to let that guy go or we’ve got to have somebody warming up,” Woodward said. “So it’s actually good, because we need to start playing real baseball, we need to start playing like real games.”

But what if those innings weren’t cut short?

“I had our analyst guys kind of mock up a run expectancy, two outs if we rolled it, what was the run expectancy there? It’s like .35 — so we’ve won a few games at 7.2 to 4.8, that type of thing. Bases loaded, one out, like there’s a 1.9 run expectancy there, whatever,” Woodward said.

“But I mean, I’m over it. I want some even numbers, some even integers like this, let’s just go real numbers here — 5-4 win, yes,” he said.

ON THE WAY

Top Marlins pitching prospect Sixto Sánchez will make his first appearance of spring training Monday against the Astros, and he’s expected to work two innings.

The Dominican’s progress in camp was delayed by a visa issue and then a false positive on a COVID-19 test. Sanchez is expected to land a spot in the rotation after going 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA in seven starts last year.

WHITE SOX 6, ANGELS 5

Shohei Ohtani was roughed up in his second start for Los Angeles, allowing five runs on six hits and walk in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out four.

Luis Robert’s homer started Chicago’s five-run second inning against Ohtani. Tim Anderson had an RBI single, José Abreu drew a bases-loaded walk and Yoán Moncada hit a two-run single.

Juan Lagares had an RBI double and is batting .500 in his first spring with the Angels. Brandon Marsh, LA’s top prospect, had an RBI single.

YANKEES 7, PIRATES 5

Newcomer Corey Kluber made his second start for New York, allowing two runs on four hits in four innings. Closer Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless inning in his second appearance.

Non-roster invitee Troy Stokes Jr. continued to turn heads with a diving catch in right field and a home run. Bryan Reynolds also homered. Outfielder Anthony Alford exited with wrist discomfort after being hit by a pitch from Kluber.

BREWERS 4, RANGERS 4 (7 INNINGS)

Newly signed outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. played his first game for Milwaukee, going 1 for 3 from the leadoff spot and scoring a run. Daniel Robertson and top prospect Garrett Mitchell each homered.

Leodys Tavares doubled twice for Texas, driving in a run and scoring.

PHILLIES 9, TIGERS 3

Bryce Harper homered, doubled and scored three runs for Philadelphia and Didi Gregorius hit a grand slam. Starter Zach Eflin pitched four shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out four without a walk.

Detroit starter Casey Mize was tagged for six runs on four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. Reliever Joe Jimenez retired just two batters and threw two wild pitches, allowing Harper and Jean Segura to score. Akil Baddoo homered for the Tigers.

ROYALS 10, CUBS 2 (7)

Jorge Soler hit his third home run for Kansas City and added an RBI double. Andrew Benintendi also had an RBI double and Nick Pratto homered twice.

Adbert Alzolay, competing for the fifth spot in Chicago’s rotation, made his second start in his third spring appearance, yielding two runs on three hits and a walk while retiring five batters.

INDIANS 6, GIANTS 5

Zach Plesac was knocked around in his third start for Cleveland, surrendering four runs on six hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. José Ramírez had an RBI double and Leury García homerd. Outfielder Billy Hamilton was released by the Indians.

Logan Webb made his third start for San Francisco, striking out six in three shutout innings. He has yet to allow a run this spring. Curt Casali and Austin Slater homered for the Giants.

DIAMONDBACKS 6, PADRES 3

Ketel Marte led off the game with a home run for Arizona. Josh Green made his first start in his third appearance for Arizona, yielding one run on one hit in three innings with three strikeouts. Josh VanMeter and Trayce Thompson homered.

Fernando Tatis Jr. singled to lead off the San Diego first and scored on Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly. Machado added a double. Adrian Morejon struck out five in three innings. Mark Melancon followed Morejon and walked one in a scoreless inning.

ROCKIES 2, MARINERS 1

Kyle Freeland allowed three hits in four shutout innings in his second start for Colorado, striking out four. Greg Bird hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

Seattle’s Marco Gonzales threw four shutout innings in his second start, allowing two hits while striking out four.

RED SOX 7, BRAVES 2

Xander Bogaerts picked up his first hit of the spring for Boston. The star shortstop made his debut a day earlier after being slowed by a sore right shoulder. Hunter Renfroe homered for the Red Sox. Martín Pérez made his second start, allowing two hits and a walk in four scoreless innings.

Ian Anderson struck out seven in 3 1/3 innings in his second start for Atlanta. He gave up three runs on four hits and a walk.

TWINS 1, RAYS 0 (8)

Randy Dobnak made his first start in his second appearance for Minnesota, allowing one hit in three shutout innings, striking out six. Willians Astudillo hit his first home run.

Rich Hill made his second start for Tampa Bay, yielding a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings. Randy Arozarena had one of the Rays’ two hits.

BLUE JAYS 5, ORIOLES 0 (8)

Robbie Ray threw four hitless innings in his third start for Toronto. Cavan Biggio homered and doubled for the Blue Jays.

Baltimore didn’t get a hit until top prospect Adley Rutschman doubled off Jordan Romano with two outs in the seventh. Rutschman, a catcher and the top pick in the 2019 draft, fouled off five straight two-strike pitches before connecting.

Wade LeBlanc gave up two runs on two hits and three walks in three innings for the Orioles.

NATIONALS 4, METS 3

Josh Bell hit an RBI double and starter Joe Ross allowed two runs — none earned — over 3 1/3 innings for the Nationals. Erick Fedde gave up one run and struck out four in three innings of relief. Victor Robles had two hits and scored twice from the leadoff spot.

Mets closer Edwin Díaz struck out two in a hitless inning.

CARDINALS 6, MARLINS 4

John Nogowski went 4 for 4 with four RBIs in the No. 9 hole for St. Louis. Nolan Arenado doubled, and Matthew Liberatore threw two hitless innings in relief.

Miami starter Elieser Hernandez had six strikeouts in four shutout innings.

ATHLETICS 5, REDS 2 (7)

Oakland lefty Sean Manaea struck out four in three innings, allowing one run and three hits. Chad Pinder hit a two-run homer off Cincinnati starter Jeff Hoffman, who also went three innings. Nick Castellanos had an RBI single.

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