Cervelli's two blasts back solid Cole, carry Pirates

Catcher hits pair of solo shots; righty allows two runs over five innings vs. Twins

Cervelli's two blasts back solid Cole, carry Pirates

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Catcher Francisco Cervelli homered twice to help lead the Pirates to a 4-2 win over the Twins on Friday at Hammond Stadium.

Cervelli's two solo homers came against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. Cervelli's first shot came in the third inning, before he crushed another blast in the fifth to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

"The first one was just a changeup right over the middle and the second one was just a sinker that did more running than sinking," Gibson said. "He took two good swings. But that's the danger with changeups to righties. It can become a BP fastball at 86. He was ready for the inside pitch both times and hit them well."

Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the second inning after Gibson loaded the bases with nobody out. Gibson was able to strike out prospect Austin Meadows and former Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon, but he walked Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole to bring home a run.

Cole was solid on the mound for the Pirates, giving up two runs on four hits over five innings in his longest outing of the spring.

The Twins got on the board in the third when Eduardo Nunez singled and stole second base before scoring on a double from Shane Robinson. Minnesota tied it up in the fourth on an RBI single from Eduardo Escobar to bring home Kurt Suuzki, who tripled with two outs on a ball misplayed by Meadows in right field. It gave Escobar his team-leading 10th RBI in Grapefruit League play.

The Pirates added an insurance run in the seventh against reliever Michael Tonkin on an RBI single from Josh Harrison, scoring Florimon.

Up next: Francisco Liriano will oppose Boston's Wade Miley on Saturday in a matchup of left-handers as the Pirates host the Red Sox in a 1:05 p.m. ET affair at McKechnie Field on MLB.TV. The hottest southpaw on the mound, however, will be Bucs reliever Tony Watson, who has allowed only one hit in five scoreless appearances, with seven strikeouts in five innings.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.