The Pirates had their only crack at Big Roy Halladay in the first. After a groundout by Nyjer Morgan, Andrew McCutchen doubled. Nate McClouth walked. Adam LaRoche groundout. Craig Monroe struck out.
Roy was on cruise control after that with 4IP, the lone hit was McCutchens double, one walk and 4K.
Paul Maholm was just as effective, mowing down the Jays over his four innings of work. He faced only 14 batters and served up 8 groundballs. The infield of LaRoche, Shelby Ford, Luis Cruz, and Andy LaRoche played sharp and got plenty of work.
The game was an hour old. Five and a third had passed, the Pirates were held scoreless and had only McCutchen’s double to show for offense. The team is showing improvement in patience at the plate and had earned three free passes, but had struck out six times. (Two each by Monroe.240 and McCutchen .188.) The patience at the plate paid dividends with a run. The Bucs jumped on the board when with one out Morgan walked, STOLE second, and an out later Adam LaRoche knocked him in with a two out RBI single off Blue Jay prospect Luis Perez.
Jeff Karstens as predicted on Rumbunter had a 123 fifth inning of work with a strikeout. He was helped with a nice outfield grab by McCutchen in RF, who is playing some great defense this spring. But in the sixth he ran into some trouble (which we did not predict) when the Jays struck for two runs with RBI from 2B Aaron Hill and DH Kevin Millar. The two earned runs bumped his ERA to 6.75. Ugh.
Matt Capps came in to work the bottom of the seventh giving up a hit, while recording a stikeout and two flyouts. Our man, big Donnie Veal pitched a perfect eighth inning rebounding from the hiccup. Veal makes the squad if he keeps this up.
With one out in the ninth and the score still 2-1 in favor of the Jays, Monroe stepped in against Robert Ray and launched a homer, his third of the spring. Evan Meek did the usual this spring with another scoreless inning, a strikeout…but he did give up a hit. He is mortal.
The game went to extra innings with Jason Davis on the mound for the Pirates he was perfect with one strikeout, Jeff Sues matched his pitching line in the eleventh and the game was called.
For me the game was one of missed opportunities as Pirates runners were left in scoring position by Monroe twice; Luis Cruz: pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez; and Steve Pearce, who returned from injury to go 0-2. I know…I know… it’s not the regular season. One day closer….