Pirates' top prospects debut, take down Braves

Pirates' top prospects debut, take down Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After getting a look at their top two pitching prospects on Saturday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex, the Pirates overcame Nick Markakis' first homer of the spring and claimed a 9-6 comeback victory. 

Third baseman Kelly Johnson's inability to cleanly field a one-out grounder helped extend the sixth inning long enough for Ryan Weber to surrender three consecutive two-out hits, including Jake Goebbert's two-run double and Pedro Florimon's go-ahead single.

A.J. Pierzynski's two-run first-inning single provided the Braves an early lead and accounted for the only runs surrendered by Pirates top prospect Tyler Glasnow, who surrendered two hits and issued three walks while completing 1 2/3 innings in his Grapefruit League season debut. Glasnow surrendered an infield single and issued consecutive two-out walks before Pierzynski delivered his single to center field.

Coming off last year's frustrating stints with the Orioles and Padres, Bud Norris produced two perfect innings in his Braves debut. Norris, who projects to begin the season as Atlanta's No. 2 starter, concluded his outing with three groundouts in the second inning.

Norris, Markakis on performances

"I thought he was good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His command was good. You can tell who the veteran pitchers are early in Spring Training. You can't complain. It's his first outing. It looks like he's right where he should be." 

The Pirates were unable to take advantage of Sean Rodriguez's third-inning double off Jim Johnson. But they dented the scoreboard in the fourth inning, when David Holmberg hit Gregory Polanco with a pitch and then allowed Michael Morse to drill a RBI double.

Tyler Flowers' fourth-inning home run accounted for the only run surrendered during the two-inning stint completed by Jameson Taillon, who is Pittsburgh's second-best pitching prospect according to MLBPipeline.com.

Up Next for the Pirates: The Pirates will return to McKechnie Field to face the Astros at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday in Bradenton. Juan Nicasio is expected to start for the Bucs against Brad Peacock, with Kyle Lobstein, Arquimedes Caminero, Jared Hughes, John Holdzkom and Wilfredo Boscan also expected to pitch. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Up Next for the Braves: Ender Inciarte and Hector Olivera will be in the lineup when Atlanta travels to play the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. The game can be seen on MLB.TV. Top prospects Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies are also scheduled to make the trip with the Braves, who will send rotation candidate Kyle Kendrick to the mound to make his first start.

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