Sanders belts home run in first game with Pirates

Posted: Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Reggie Sanders homered, drew a bases-loaded walk and drove in three runs in his first game with Pittsburgh, and the Pirates routed a Minnesota Twins' split squad 14-3 Monday.

Sanders hit a long two-run homer in a five-run fifth inning that gave the Pirates a 9-1 lead at Bradenton, Fla. The shot easily cleared the left-field fence and landed on the roof of the Bradenton Boys and Girls Club.

''You don't want to get too excited because it's my first game, and I have a whole lot of work left to do in the batting cage before my swing is ready for opening day,'' Sanders said. ''But it is nice to start off this way with a new team. It's definitely a confidence boost.''

Aramis Ramirez and Mike Gulan also homered for Pittsburgh. Ramirez also had three RBIs while Jason Kendall, Ramirez, Randall Simon and Carlos Rivera had two hits each.

''Reggie certainly made a good first impression,'' Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said.

At Jupiter, Fla., St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has left the team for several days to attend the trial of a defendant accused of assaulting one of his daughters.

''I feel that it is important for me to join my family and give my daughter support during this difficult time,'' La Russa said.

At Tampa, Fla., Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui hit his second homer of the spring, a three-run shot for the New York Yankees in Monday's 9-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Matsui went 3-for-3. He is 5-for-9 with two homers and five RBIs in three spring training games.

''I didn't expect to start this way,'' Matsui said through an interpreter. ''I feel a little more comfortable. When good results come out, that makes me feel better.''

In other games:

Astros 5, Braves 2

At Kissimmee, Fla., Shane Reynolds pitched three pain-free innings, allowing no runs and three hits in his first game appearance since back surgery in June. ''I just look at myself as somebody who needs to come in here and pitch well and prove that my back's healthy and go out there and compete,'' Reynolds said. Russ Ortiz pitched two scoreless innings for the Braves.

Tigers 5, Red Sox (ss) 4

At Lakeland, Fla., Alan Trammell didn't celebrate his first win with a cigar and champagne. After the game, the first-year manager was back on the field helping Ramon Santiago and Omar Infante as they did extra infield work. ''It always feels good to win, but to be honest, I don't feel any different that I did after the other games,'' said Trammell, who started 0-3.

Orioles 2, Expos 1

At Viera, Fla., Brian Roberts homered in the sixth off Britt Reames for the first of Baltimore's three hits.Tony Armas pitched three hitless innings and struck out five and T.J. Tucker followed with two scoreless innings.

Cardinals 7, Mets 1

At Jupiter, Fla., Jason Simontacchi and Dustin Hermanson each pitched two scoreless innings. Pedro Astacio pitched three scoreless innings for the Mets. Tino Martinez drove in two runs for the Cardinals.

Indians 8, Devil Rays 6

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Jody Gerut hit a grand slam, and Travis Hafner and Tim Laker hit solo homers.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 4

At Vero Beach, Fla., Hideo Nomo pitched three innings in his second appearance of the exhibition season, allowing one run and four hits in three innings.

Reds 7, Phillies 2

At Sarasota, Fla., Jimmy Anderson, a non-roster invitee, pitched four scoreless innings against a lineup that included Jim Thome, Pat Burrell and David Bell. Austin Kearns hit a three-run homer for the Reds, his first homer of spring training.

Athletics 6, Diamondbacks 5

At Phoenix, reigning Cy Young Award winners Randy Johnson and Barry Zito faced each other for the first time. Johnson pitched three shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out three. Zito allowed a run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in four innings.

Padres 7, Rangers 6

At Peoria, Ariz., San Diego's first save of spring training went to the same pitcher who had its last save in 2002: Brandon Villafuerte. With closer Trevor Hoffman out at least several months following shoulder surgery last week, the Padres are evaluating their relievers as possible closers. Villafuerte inherited the 7-6 lead in the ninth and managed to close it out despite letting the potential tying run reach scoring position.

Brewers (ss) 3, Angels 2

At Tempe, Ariz., John Lackey, who won Game 7 of the World Series last October, gave up one run in two innings of his spring debut. Glendon Rusch pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut for Milwaukee.

Brewers (ss) 7, Cubs (ss) 3

At Mesa, Ariz., Ben Sheets pitched one inning in his spring debut. Sheets, scratched from his scheduled debut Saturday because of lower-back spasms, gave up one hit and threw a wild pitch.

Rockies 7, Cubs (ss) 1

At Tucson, Ariz., Aaron Cook, projected to be the Rockies' No. 4 starter after starting five games following a late-season callup last year, allowed one hit and one walk in a two inning start. Shawn Chacon, expected to battle Scott Elarton and Darren Oliver for the No. 5 spot, followed Cook and held the Cubs hitless in three innings while walking one and striking out three.

White Sox 3, Giants 1

At Tucson, Ariz., Frank Thomas doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored once. Thomas finished the day 2-for-3, his second multihit effort in three games.

Mariners 8, Royals 7

At Surprise, Ariz., Kansas City second baseman Carlos Febles and outfielder Mark Quinn left in the first inning but both said their injuries weren't serious. Febles was hit on the left hand by a pitch while leading off against Joel Pineiro. Quinn, who missed most of last season with a left hamstring injury, pulled up lame as he ran out a grounder that was the last out of the first.

Red Sox 6, Twins 4

At Fort Myers, Fla., Manny Ramirez homered and Adrian Brown hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the eighth inning for Boston. Derek Lowe made his second start of the spring for the Red Sox and allowed a two-run homer to Torii Hunter.

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