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Stewart clears bases with double, propels Bucs

Special to MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates catcher Chris Stewart had a big day in a 4-3 win over the Twins at LECOM Park on Sunday.

The 35-year-old veteran, who is competing for the backup catching job, went 2-for-2 with a bases-clearing double down the left-field line that keyed a four-run third inning for Pittsburgh.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates catcher Chris Stewart had a big day in a 4-3 win over the Twins at LECOM Park on Sunday.

The 35-year-old veteran, who is competing for the backup catching job, went 2-for-2 with a bases-clearing double down the left-field line that keyed a four-run third inning for Pittsburgh.

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"He's hitting the ball hard where it's pitched," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He felt good enough to take off and run on his own today, so there you know how he's feeling."

Twins No. 14 prospect Daniel Palka, who blasted 34 home runs last year over two Minor League stops, hit his first home run of the spring -- a towering drive to left field -- against Pirates starter Trevor Williams in the top of the second inning.

Video: MIN@PIT: Palka opens the scoring with a two-run homer

Williams picked up the win after he allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter over three innings.

"We are playing good baseball as a group," said Pirates first baseman John Jaso, who finished the afternoon 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer put the Bucs on the board with an RBI double in the third against Minnesota starter Ryan Vogelsong, whose outing ended after hitting the next batter. Vogelsong took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits while striking out one over 2 1/3 innings.

Video: MIN@PIT: Mercer clubs an RBI double to deep center

"The plan is to keep stretching him out and we still have enough time," Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Twins designated hitter Matt Hague paced the offense, finishing the day 3-for-4 with three doubles and a run scored.

Twins up next: With Trevor May not making his scheduled start after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, right-hander Justin Haley will make his first start of the spring on Monday against the Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV. Haley, a Rule 5 Draft pick, is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, but could also make the club as a reliever.

Pirates up next: The Pirates will hit the road to take on the Braves in Lake Buena Vista at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Tyler Glasnow will get the start for Pittsburgh, with Wade LeBlanc, A.J. Schugel, Dan Runzler, Pat Light and Dovydas Neverauskas scheduled to appear in relief. Bartolo Colon will be on the hill for the Braves. Glasnow is looking to bounce back from a rough last outing in which he allowed six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Dominican Republic.

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J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.