Osuna, Mercer blast homers in Pirates’ 5-4 win over Rays

Pittsburgh Pirates' Jose Osuna (64) points skyward after his two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in a spring training baseball game in Port Charlotte, Fla., Monday, March 20, 2017. (AP)

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – Pittsburgh’s Jordy Mercer and Jose Osuna each hit two-run homers and Adam Frazier had three hits in the Pirates’ 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

Jameson Taillon pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs.

Kevin Kiermaier, who finalized his six-year, $53.5 contract with Tampa Bay earlier in the day, went 2 for 2 with an RBI. Rays starter Blake Snell, who’s fighting for a front-end rotation slot, went five innings and allowed four earned runs.

Pirates to extend protective netting at PNC Park

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (TNS) – The Pirates are installing new protective netting that now extends to the end of the dugouts at PNC Park, the club announced Monday. The move is a fan-safety measure but surely will frustrate some fans who desire an entirely unobstructed view of the field.

In an question-and-answer post provided on the team’s website, the Pirates explained that by extending the netting system they will be “providing protection in those areas where the reaction time for objects that enter the seating area is the shortest. There will still be opportunities for fans to sit outside the netting in areas where there is more time to react to such objects.”

The new netting will be the same height as the previous system, according to the team, and it is a knotless and more transparent material with fewer vertical cables than the previous net.

“This should limit, if not eliminate, any sight line obstructions,” according to the Pirates.

In December 2015, Major League Baseball recommended teams extend protective netting to shield all field-level seats between the dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate.

Season ticket-holders are encouraged to contact their membership representative with questions or to request a ballpark visit to see how their seats have been affected. If the view is unsatisfactory, the representative will go over alternatives for fans who desire to be relocated.