• Naturally, the Pirates' first Grapefruit League loss of the season would be by a 5-4 score. Last season, they played 14 games with that final tally (they went 7-7 in them).
• Pittsburgh starters -- and pitchers in general -- aren't the only ones running an early collective heat in Grapefruit League play. Jordy Mercer, Chase d'Arnaud, Clint Barmes and Ivan De Jesus have combined to go 6-for-11 while playing shortstop.
• Jose Tabata hit the ball hard again, yanking a solo homer in the seventh off Esmerling Vazquez that briefly tied the game at 4. Hurdle has been uncommonly frank in talking to the outfielder about what he needs to do to "recapture his skill set," and has noted Tabata's response.
"He understands that this is a game of second chances, but sooner or later you run out of chances," Hurdle said. "It's good to see him come out early swinging the bat in a very aggressive nature."
• Tuesday's start, against Baltimore at McKechnie Field, will be the first of two for Wandy Rodriguez before the lefty leaves camp to hook up with Team Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic.