BRADENTON, Fla. -- Erik Gonzalez had a very simple goal Thursday.
“I tried to hit a ball hard today and that was a success today,” said Gonzalez, vying with Kevin Newman for the Pirates’ starting shortstop job. “I was not trying for a home run, though, just hit a ball as hard as I can.”
Gonzalez hit a blast to center field in the fifth inning and it turned out to be the first of five solo home runs by the Pirates as they beat the Orioles, 5-4, in an exhibition game at LECOM Park. The Pirates won their third in a row and improved to 7-5 in Grapefruit League action.