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Tabata an “option” at leadoff

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BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates had Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen, in that order, atop their lineup today against the Rays. But manager Clint Hurdle said it’s only one possible lineup combo this season.

“It’s one of many,” Hurdle said. “It’s the one we threw out there today. We all pretty much understand what Andrew can do at the top of the lineup. We need to look at what we can do to stretch out lineup, to become more diverse and dynamic. We need to score more runs than we did last year. I do believe he has the skill to hit third. We’ll see how it plays out.”

»»» The third inning ended when righty Brad Lincoln picked Sean Rodriguez off second base. Lincoln made a perfect strike to shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who tagged Rodriguez.

“It was the right timing,” Lincoln said. “It’s one of those plays where, you see him go and then basically it’s a timing play. It’s not called or set up. It just happens.”

»»» Jose Tabata had a run-scoring single and Garrett Atkins hit an RBI double. The Pirates’ other three runs scored on grounders. … In the seventh, Robinson Chirinos put the Rays ahead 5-2 with a two-out, three-run double off Daniel McCutchen. … Lefty Justin Thomas gave up four unearned runs in the eighth after a two-out fielding error by third baseman Josh Fields.

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