Pirates at Reds, 1:15 p.m., Great American Ball Park. TV, radio: Fox Sports Net; KDKA-AM (1020) and the Pirates Radio Network. LHP Oliver Perez (4-10, 5.47 ERA in 2003) will start for the Pirates; RHP Jimmy Haynes (2-12, 6.30 ERA) for the Reds.
Pirates 1B Randall Simon left the game yesterday in the second inning because of a tight left hamstring. Simon's leg was injured running out a tap in front of the plate in the first inning. "I don't want to speculate, but if it's [still] sore [this morning], it's not good," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We're hoping it's just a cramp-type thing."
The game attracted 23,449 -- which included 4,887 walk-ups. Friday night's attendance swelled to 27,713 when 9,461 bought tickets on the day of the game. "That's awesome," Reds 1B Sean Casey said. "This is a baseball town. They want to see a winner."
McClendon rested C Jason Kendall yesterday, using Humberto Cota behind the plate. "I'm giving my starting catcher a day off to try to keep him as fresh as possible," McClendon said. But Cota? "If guys are here, you have to use them or they won't be worth a darn," McClendon said. "At some point, you're going to need these guys."
Rob Mackowiak started at third base instead of struggling Chris Stynes, who is 0 for 12 this season after going 11 for 65 in spring training. "We'll give him a breather and see if he can relax a little bit and get it going," McClendon said. Mackowiak seems to be working his way into an expanded role in the Pirates' offense. "I think he's improved quite a bit," McClendon said. "He's cut down on his strikeouts. He's laying off the pitch upstairs. He's becoming a darn good player. He really is. He's as good as anybody on the team. He plays second base OK. He plays third base OK. He plays the outfield pretty darn good. He's an athlete. He can steal a base with anybody. Who knows? Maybe he will grow into an everyday player. Along the lines of Craig Wilson, he's gotten better every year. I've told these guys that playing time is based on performance. I don't see any faces. I don't play favorites. You produce, you play. Playing time is dictated by performance."
Josh Fogg, who battled his command in the game Friday night, won't start again until Thursday in Chicago. That means he'll have five days of rest between starts -- not the best with a finesse-type pitcher. That's why Fogg probably will throw two bullpen sessions this week.
McClendon used struggling Brian Boehringer in relief with the Pirates behind in the sixth inning Friday night -- unusual usage for Boehringer, who normally pitches later in games and with the Pirates ahead or tied. McClendon said he did it so Boehringer can find a consistent arm slot and get his troubles ironed out. Look for this pattern to continue for a while. Brian Meadows and Salomon Torres probably will be used late in games to set up closer Jose Mesa.
ALTOONA (2-0) beat Portland, 10-3. Starter Mike Connolly (1-0) allowed three hits, two walks and two runs in five innings. CF Chris Duffy had two hits and scored two runs. DH Josh Bonifay had two hits, including his first home run, and three RBIs. 3B Kevin Nicholson had two hits and two RBIs.
LYNCHBURG (1-0) won at Frederick, 5-3. Starter Paul Maholm allowed four hits, two walks and a run and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings. Josh Higgins got his first save. 2B Victor Mercedes doubled and drove in two runs. LF Chaz Lytle had two hits.
HICKORY (1-1) lost to Lake County, 12-4. Moon's Brian Holliday (0-1) allowed five hits, two walks and four runs in two-thirds of an inning. CF Nyjer Morgan had two hits and two RBIs.