Nicasio, who signed a one-year deal worth $3 million in the offseason, was expected to open the year in a long relief role, but he's pitched his way into competing for a rotation spot.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson started for the Twins, surrendering one unearned run on three hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. Gibson, who is lined up to be Minnesota's No. 2 starter, has also pitched well with a 2.31 ERA in four Grapefruit League outings.
"I think it was a little bit better location today," Gibson said. "I think it was more about location than movement. I don't know how many offspeed pitches I threw today, but it was a lot. So it was a better mix overall."
The lone run of the game came in the third and was keyed by a throwing error from third baseman Eduardo Nunez with two outs. With first and third, David Freese hit a grounder to Nunez, who airmailed the throw to second base to allow a run to score.
Reliever Neftali Feliz also threw two scoreless frames for the Pirates, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Twins closer Glen Perkins also threw a scoreless seventh with two strikeouts, and has yet to allow a run this spring. Fellow reliever Casey Fien tossed a 1-2-3 eighth.
Up next for the Pirates: After their final off-day Tuesday, the Pirates will return to McKechnie Field on Wednesday to face the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Jeff Locke, officially competing for a rotation spot with Ryan Vogelsong and Nicasio, will start for Pittsburgh. Closer Mark Melancon and left-hander Cory Luebke are also scheduled to pitch.
Up next for the Twins: The Twins have split-squad action on Tuesday, as they host the Orioles at 12:05 p.m. CT at Hammond Stadium, and also travel up to Clearwater to face the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT. Left-hander Logan Darnell, competing for a spot in the bullpen, gets the start at home, while right-hander Phil Hughes starts against Philadelphia. Tuesday's home game will also be televised by Fox Sports North.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.