Diego Castillo continued his bid to earn a spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates opening day roster, as he slugged his fifth home run of the spring to help propel the Bucs to a 7-2 win over the Boston Red Sox Saturday in a Grapefruit League matchup at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida.
The 24-year-old rookie infielder blasted a Nathan Eovaldi offering just beyond the reach of Jackie Bradley Jr., who vaulted over and through the right field fence in vain, for a two-run shot in the sixth inning that widened a 1-0 lead to 3-0.
Castillo now has five home runs and nine RBIs in 12 spring training games and is hitting .346.
Pirates starter JT Brubaker pitched well, relatively speaking, as he blanked the Red Sox over his 3 2/3 innings of work, allowing three hits in the process.
Brubaker walked three and struck out two, including slugger Trevor Story in his final inning of work.
Brubaker couldn’t get through the fourth, however, as he allowed a base hit to J.D. Martinez and walked Travis Shaw after Story struck out. Brubaker fanned Kevin Plawecki for the second out but was relieved by Aaron Fletcher, who retired Bradley on a ground ball to short for the third out.
The Pirates got on the board first in the top of the fourth when Michael Chavis, who has been scuffling all spring, took Eovaldi deep to the opposite field in right-center for a solo home run.
The return of Michael Chavis. pic.twitter.com/9lfV8PDOos— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 2, 2022
After Castillo’s two-run homer, the Pirates two more runs in the sixth on RBI singles from Hunter Owen and Matt Fraizer.
Madris had two more hits to up his average to .438 and had an outfield assist. Fraizer added a second RBI single in the eighth and Nick Gonzales had two hits and an RBI.
Young right-hander Miguel Yajure, who has been slowed by a return from a lumbar spine injury, made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game and worked two innings, giving up three hits, a walk and a run.
The Pirates return to Bradenton Sunday to host Tampa Bay at 1:05 p.m., with Mitch Keller getting the start.