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MLB: Morton salts away Phillies

by AARON BRACY Associated Press on March 29, 2014 10:40 AM

PHILADELPHIA — Neil Walker had three hits and an RBI to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, and struck out one. Morton, who is scheduled to start the Pirates’ second regular-season game on Wednesday against the Cubs, ended the spring with a 0.82 ERA in four starts.

Pirates closer Jason Grilli pitched one scoreless inning, allowing a hit. Grilli has given up four hits in five scoreless innings this spring

Tony Watson pitched a scoreless inning. Watson hasn’t given up a run in five innings this spring. Russell Martin and Clint Barmes added RBIs for the Pirates.

Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte, who signed a six-year, $31 million contract Thursday, went 1-for-5.

The teams are scheduled to play their final exhibition of the spring today at 1:05 p.m. The Pirates play host to the Cubs at 1:05 on Monday.

Chase Utley had all three of Philadelphia’s hits, breaking out of a spring slump with a pair of doubles. Utley entered batting .175 with one extra-base hit this spring.

“His timing early on was off,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “As of late, the contact has been there. He found the gaps tonight.”

The Phillies have been shut out in each of its last three games while combining for six hits in those losses.

Sandberg, though, isn’t concerned.

“I see balls being hit on the nose and nothing to show for it,” Sandberg said. “I also look at the potential of the lineup. When it all counts on Monday, that’s when I’m counting on balls to find some holes and have some baserunners.”

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