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Espinal's walk-off homer sinks Rays' pitching

MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Edwin Espinal broke a game-long pitchers' duel between the Pirates and Rays with a three-run walk-off homer for Pittsburgh during a 4-1 win at LECOM Park on Friday.

Rays starter Matt Andriese issued a leadoff walk to Pirates second baseman Max Moroff, who stole second and came home on a David Freese single to put the Pirates up 1-0 in the first inning.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Edwin Espinal broke a game-long pitchers' duel between the Pirates and Rays with a three-run walk-off homer for Pittsburgh during a 4-1 win at LECOM Park on Friday.

Rays starter Matt Andriese issued a leadoff walk to Pirates second baseman Max Moroff, who stole second and came home on a David Freese single to put the Pirates up 1-0 in the first inning.

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"I don't really tend to walk people too often, I was just feeling my mechanics a little bit," Andriese said. "It's nothing really to worry about. Just gotta get back out there in the next five days and do it again."

In the top of the third, Pirates starter Drew Hutchison surrendered the game-tying run to Rays shortstop Tim Beckham, who belted his first spring home run to right-center field.

"He made a good swing and went with it," Hutchison said. "I executed the pitch down and away and [Beckham] made a good swing and went with it. I was not too upset about that. Those things happen, guys are going to make good swings."

Beckham's home run was the only run Hutchison allowed, as he scattered three hits over four innings and walked a pair while striking out five. Hutchison's was the longest outing of any Pittsburgh starter this spring, but on the other side, it was an early exit for Andriese. After piling up his pitch count. Andriese lasted just 1 2/3 innings during which he scattered two hits and walked a pair, and added three strikeouts.

Neither team would make it across the plate for a while after Beckham's homer. Until Espinal's blast, the closest call was in the bottom of the eighth inning, when an apparent Austin Meadows sacrifice fly to center was thwarted when Tampa Bay's Dayron Varona threw out Joey Terdoslavich at home for the final out of the frame.

Rays up next
Watch live on MLB.TV as the Rays travel to Fort Myers on Saturday afternoon for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Red Sox. Alex Cobb will make his third start of the spring. Cobb started against the Blue Jays on Sunday and told reporters he was working on a few things, but was optimistic he would get the feel he needed before the start of the season. Also expected to pitch for the Rays are Jacob Faria, Neil Wagner, Jeff Ames and Diego Moreno. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox. Kevin Kiermaier, Evan Longoria and Steven Souza Jr. will make the trip to Fort Myers as well.

Pirates up next
The Pirates will hit the road versus the Orioles in Sarasota on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET, in a game televised live on MLB.TV. Clay Holmes is expected to start for the Bucs followed by Nick Kingham, Jared Hughes, Antonio Bastardo, Josh Lindblom and Dan Runzler. In addition, Pirates pitchers Ivan Nova and Angel Sanchez are scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Saturday.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.