Bats unable to back pitching in loss to Yankees

McCutchen 0-for-3 in Grapefruit League debut

Bats unable to back pitching in loss to Yankees

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tyler Austin threw out the potential lead run at the plate in the sixth inning, and two innings later, hit a towering homer to snap a tie and give the Yankees a 2-1 exhibition victory over the Pirates on Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

Austin hammered right-hander Deolis Guerra's pitch far over McKechnie Field's left-field stands to snap the tie he had preserved and give New York (1-1-1) its first Grapefruit League victory of the spring.

Esmil Rogers and Chase Whitley each hurled two shutout innings for the Yankees in front of a sellout crowd of 7,880.

The Bucs have been held to two runs in 24 innings since scoring six in the first three innings of their preseason opener on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.

The Pirates had drawn into a 1-1 tie in the sixth on a two-out RBI single off Cesar Vargas by Jaff Decker -- who then was thrown out at home trying to score on Delbinson Romero's single to Austin in right.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a wind-aided, two-out, run-scoring double by former Pittsburgh first baseman Garrett Jones, whose blooper fell among center fielder Starling Marte, right fielder Gregory Polanco and second baseman Sean Rodriguez and scored Chris Young from second.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano and righty Charlie Morton, two-fifths of the Bucs' rotation, each pitched two shutout innings in their first appearances of the spring. Andrew McCutchen, serving as the designated hitter, went 0-for-3 in his spring debut.

Pirates up next: The other shoe drops in the competition for the fifth-starter job as lefty Jeff Locke faces the Yankees in a nighttime affair (7:05 p.m. ET) at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday -- two days after Vance Worley's first outing. Arquimedes Caminero, a top contender for a bullpen seat, is due to be the first of six relievers to pick up Locke in a game broadcast on Gameday Audio. Lefty Chris Capuano will start for New York.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.