Duke dominates with five shutout frames

Duke throws five scoreless innings

at Bradenton, Fla.
Monday, March 17

Blue Jays at the plate: One day after knocking around Minnesota's pitchers for 14 hits, the Blue Jays mustered just five against the Pirates. Lyle Overbay had the only extra-base hit on the afternoon, knocking a leadoff double in the sixth. Middle infielders David Eckstein and Aaron Hill each singled in their first at-bats, but both were erased from the basepaths on double plays.

Pirates at the plate: Though he still hasn't made his return to the field, Freddy Sanchez continues to swing the hot bat for the Pirates in the designated hitter spot. Sanchez reached base twice and drove in the team's first run with a third-inning single. Luis Rivas, who continues to fight for the backup infield spot, doubled and scored on a triple off the bat of center fielder Nate McLouth. McLouth finished the day 1-for-2 with two runs scored.

Blue Jays on the mound: After giving up just one run to the Pirates in a start against the club last week, Toronto starter A.J. Burnett labored through four innings of work. Burnett issued four walks and gave up four hits as the Pirates tagged the right-hander for four runs. Mike Gallo and B.J. Ryan each followed with a scoreless inning of relief.

Pirates on the mound: In his most efficient outing this spring, Zach Duke needed just 51 pitches (32 of which were strikes) to finish five shutout innings. Two of the three Blue Jays hitters who connected for hits off Duke were erased on subsequent double plays, as Duke faced the minimum in his fourth start of the spring. Fellow lefty Sean Burnett continued to pad his resume with his fifth consecutive scoreless relief appearance.

Grapefruit League records: Blue Jays 7-12; Pirates 7-12.

Up next for the Blue Jays: After an off-day on Tuesday, the Blue Jays head to Fort Myers, Fla., for a 12:05 p.m. ET tilt Wednesday against the World Series champion Red Sox being broadcast on ESPN. Toronto will use a cast of relievers against Boston, keeping right-handed starter Shaun Marcum back in Dunedin to start in a Minor League game. The Jays plan on bringing their regular lineup for the afternoon game against the Red Sox.

Up next for the Pirates: The Pirates will make the 12-mile trip to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., for the third and final time this spring to face the Reds on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET.

On the mound, Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm will make the start against Cincinnati's Josh Fogg. Also slated to pitch for the Pirates are Jonah Bayliss, Casey Fossum, Hector Carrasco and Masumi Kuwata.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.