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Worth noting

• Former Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, in Jupiter, Fla., with the Red Sox and facing the Cardinals, entered his game at almost the same moment as his replacement in Pittsburgh, Jason Grilli.

Hanrahan allowed two hits, including a homer to Daniel Descalso, in his fifth inning for Boston.

Grilli pitched a hitless fifth against the Braves, working around a one-out walk of Ernesto Mejia by striking out Ramiro Pena and Reed Johnson to end the inning.

• When the ball got away from James McDonald in the second half of last season, it stayed away. In his first outing of the spring Sunday, he was able to quickly recover from an out-of-control experience.

"That's what I took away today as a big plus: When I was up and away, I was able to make an adjustment and get it back down in the zone," McDonald said after throwing the first two innings of the Pirates' 9-2 Grapefruit League win over Atlanta. "That was a big thing for me."

• Sunday's game was the first in the preseason between the Pirates and Braves in three springs. They last met in Grapefruit League play in March 2010.

• Sunday's game was also the Pirates' first of only four against National League teams this spring -- and of six against teams they'll see during the regular season (they have two Interleague dates with the Astros).

• Jeff Karstens is undergoing physical therapy and light tossing, frustrated, but patient with his healing biceps tendinitis.

"The doctor looked at it earlier this week and he didn't see any red flags," Karstens said. "So there's no reason to be too concerned. Yeah, it's frustrating, but it's only February."