Kang breaks slump at plate with two-hit game

Second baseman's two-run homer in the ninth gives Bucs win over Braves

Kang breaks slump at plate with two-hit game

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Pirates second baseman Jung Ho Kang halted his recent woes with a two-hit performance that was highlighted by the two-run, ninth-inning home run he drilled off Michael Kohn during Sunday afternoon's 4-2 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium.

"A very, very good day at the plate for him," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said of Kang. "He stayed on a breaking ball and lined out hard, singled sharply to center, then got all of that fastball. Nothing can breed confidence like success."

Braves utility man Phil Gosselin successfully executed an eighth-inning suicide squeeze bunt to score Todd Cunningham and tie the game 2-2. The Braves' only previous run had come courtesy of Chris Johnson's fifth-inning solo home run off Radhames Liz. Johnson has eight hits, including a pair of home runs, in his past 12 at-bats.

Kang had recorded just two hits in his previous 29 at-bats before he delivered a two-out seventh-inning single that scored Starling Marte and gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Marte singled to begin the inning and then reached third base courtesy of two balks charged to former Pirates closer Jason Grilli, who has never been charged for a balk during the regular season.

Braves starter Shelby Miller surrendered just one hit and one run over six strong innings. The lone hit came courtesy of a third-inning leadoff triple produced by heralded prospect Austin Meadows, a suburban Atlanta native who was selected by the Pirates in the fourth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Meadows scored on Pedro Florimon's sacrifice fly.

Up next: The Bucs will drop the curtain on their record-setting spring at McKechnie Field, hosting the Phillies in their final home Grapefruit League game after having already drawn a record 99,450. Righty Adrian Sampson is being called over from Minor League camp for the start, and lead relievers Mark Melancon and Tony Watson are also due to work. The Bucs' lineup will include the regular infield of -- around the horn -- Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.