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Pirates drop spring opener to Blue Jays 9-7

Keller’s dominant first, Castro’s slam not enough for Bucs.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Poor pitching plagued the Pittsburgh Pirates in their Spring Training opener as they fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-7, Saturday afternoon.

Toronto opened the scoring in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly, but Rodolfo Castro quickly put the Pirates ahead in the bottom half with a grand slam off former Pirate Zach Thompson.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Toronto hit two home runs off David Bednar to tie the game in the top of the fourth, then Jarlin Garcia coughed up a two-run home run to Santiago Espinal in the fifth to give the Blue Jays the lead. Toronto then added the final three runs over the course of the final three innings.

Castro finished the game 1-for-3 with four RBIs. Liover Peguero looked sharp at the plate, finishing 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-3 in his first game back with the Pirates.

On the mound, Mitch Keller looked like he was in midseason form, allowing just one hit and collecting two strikeouts over two innings. Chase De Jong, Rob Zastryzny and Daniel Zamora also added scoreless frames.

The Pirates have an off day on Sunday and welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to LECOM Park on Monday.