Rodolfo Castro hit a grand slam, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Pittsburgh Pirates from losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 9-7 on Saturday in their Grapefruit League opener at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.
Castro’s slam came in the third inning off former Pirates right-hander Zach Thompson. That put the Pirates ahead 4-1 but they could not hold the lead.
On Saturday, Castro started at third base. However, he is ostensibly considered the leader in the competition for the starting second baseman’s job with Ji-Hwan Bae and Tucapita Marcano.
Castro also hit the Pirates’ last spring training grand slam in 2021.
Shortstop prospect Liover Peguero went 2 for 2 with two RBIs off the bench.
Mitch Keller started and pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and no walks while striking out two and throwing 16 strikes in 22 pitches.
Closer David Bednar got touched for two home runs and three runs in one inning of relief. Duane Underwood Jr. was also charged with three runs (two earned) in one inning.
Jarlin Garcia surrendered two runs in one inning and took the loss.
The time of game was two hours and 47 minutes in the first game played by the Pirates under Major League Baseball’s new pitch clock rule.
The Pirates are off tomorrow before hosting the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday in Bradenton. JT Brubaker is expected to pitch for the Pirates.