The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 23, 2014

Pirates, Orioles battle to tie

Sarasota, Fla. — Andrew McCutchen hit a ninth-inning home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles played to a 7-7, 10-inning tie on Sunday.

McCutchen, who also doubled, is batting .529 this spring.

Gerrit Cole allowed six runs and eight hits in 6 2⁄3 innings.

Cole, who will probably be Pittsburgh’s No. 2 starter this season, allowed three home runs among his eight hits: a leadoff homer to Nick Markakis in the first, a two-out blast to Chris Davis, his fourth this spring, and a two-run shot by Ryan Flaherty in the sixth.

“It’s not fun giving up six runs and three bombs. A game like that, there are a lot of glaring negatives and sometimes you’ve got to look for the positives,” Cole said.

“I made an adjustment halfway through the game, about the third inning. I started to find my delivery again, went on some really good runs. I would’ve liked to have not gotten just destroyed on my mistakes, but that’s the nature of the game.”

In three spring starts, Cole has allowed eight earned runs in 11 2⁄3 innings.

“I went seven innings against one of the best lineups in the American League. Being able to get through that, to grind through it, making the adjustments ... overall, I was pleased,” Cole said.

Kevin Gausman allowed a leadoff homer to Starling Marte in the first. He gave up the run and three hits in four innings, walking two and striking out eight.

Starting time

Baltimore: Gausman, the team’s No. 1 draft choice in 2012, likely made his final start before he’s sent to the minor leagues.

Gausman said that he was glad to get tested by the Pirates, who sent a lineup with several everyday regulars.

“It’s not going to be perfect always in the season. It’s good to get in those situations now so that when it comes this spring or this summer that I have that experience in those situations,” Gausman said.

Trainer’s room

Baltimore: Chris Tillman, who was scratched from his scheduled start Friday because of a virus and was also absent on Saturday, reported feeling better. Manager Buck Showalter is planning to start Tillman, who was selected as the opening day starter, on Wednesday at Tampa Bay, five days before he’s scheduled to open the season.

Pittsburgh: RHP Jameson Tallion, the team’s top pitching prospect, has been shut down with a sore elbow.

“At this point in time, the ligament is intact,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He’s just got some discomfort in there. How quickly will it work itself out? We’ll have a much clearer picture when he gets back from his second opinion. At this point, we feel positive he’s just going to miss a little bit of time.”

LHP Francisco Liriano, who injured his groin against the Orioles on Thursday night, is still on track to pitch Pittsburgh’s opener against Chicago on March 31. He may pitch a simulated game before then.

Adding and subtracting

The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Luis Ayala and first baseman Brett Wallace to minor league contracts. Ayala, who was with Baltimore in 2012 and traded to Atlanta in April 2013, was released by the Washington Nationals earlier in the week.

Wallace, who played four seasons for Houston with a .242 average was released by the Astros earlier this month.

Both Ayala and Wallace will report to the Orioles’ minor league complex.

Baltimore optioned infielder David Adams, who was acquired off waivers from Cleveland on Saturday to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned catcher Caleb Joseph to minor league camp.

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