DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Nate McLouth and Matt Hague each homered to give the
Pirates a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Florida
Auto Exchange Stadium.
McLouth's homer came with two outs in the eighth against Toronto's Drew
Carpenter. McLouth had fallen behind in the count 0-1 before sending a
pitch over the wall in center to give his club its ninth win of the
spring. Hague added his seventh homer of the spring with a solo shot in
the top of the ninth.
Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens finished his spring with strong four outings
of work. Karstens surrendered one run on four hits while striking out
one batter and throwing 35 of his 51 pitches for strikes. Karstens'
ended the Grapefruit League season having surrendered four earned runs
in 17 innings while striking out 10.
Toronto's lone run came in the bottom of the fourth. Second baseman
Kelly Johnson led off the inning with a double to left-center field and
later came around to score on an RBI single by designated hitter Edwin
Blue Jays righty Brandon Morrow was nearly perfect against Pittsburgh
while mixing in an overpowering fastball with strong command of his
offspeed pitches. His lone blemishes were a pair of singles off the bat
of Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata.
The 27-year-old Morrow struck out four batters without issuing a walk
and throwing 34 of his 50 pitches for strikes. He finished the
Grapefruit League season having surrendered just one earned run in 17
1/3 official innings. Morrow is expected to start Game 2 of Toronto's
season on Saturday afternoon in Cleveland.
Up next: The Bucs will play the first of two
spring games in Philadelphia on Monday when the Pirates face the
Phillies in a 7:05 p.m. ET game. The Pirates went 1-3 against the
Phillies in the Grapefruit League schedule and they will open the
regular season against them on April 5 in Pittsburgh. The Pirates will
use bullpen pitchers for Monday's game and then have James McDonald take
the hill in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. contest. The Phillies are expected to
have Joe Blanton start on Monday and Cole Hamels on Tuesday.
is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the
Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.