Eckstein launches grand slam in loss

Eckstein belts grand slam in loss

PIRATES 8, BLUE JAYS 7
at Bradenton, Fla.
Thursday, March 6

Blue Jays at the plate: The biggest blow of the game from the Jays came early when shortstop David Eckstein greeted reliever Jesse Chavez by sending Chavez's first pitch of the game over the left-field wall for a second-inning grand slam. Catcher Rod Barajas reached base in all three of his plate appearances and scored on Eckstein's grand slam. First baseman Marco Scutaro drove in two other Toronto runs with a sacrifice fly and a sixth-inning RBI single.

Pirates at the plate: Continuing to try to make a statement for a spot on the Major League roster, Steve Pearce knocked out his third homer of the spring -- a two-run first-inning shot -- that gave the Pirates an early lead. Xavier Nady added a solo shot in the fifth, and infielder Jorge Velandia had a 2-for-3 afternoon that included a double and a run scored. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen laced a two-run walk-off single to cap a three-run ninth inning for the Pirates.

Blue Jays on the mound: Though Dustin McGowan finished his two-inning stint with two swinging strikeouts, the right-hander endured a bumpy beginning to his second start of the spring. McGowan gave up three runs on three hits -- the big blow being a two-run homer -- while striking out three. Other than a mistake to Nady, Casey Janssen looked sharp for the second straight game. He struck out four in three innings and allowed just two baserunners, both of whom, however, would later score.

Pirates on the mound: After a shaky first spring start, Zach Duke did his best to put to rest calls for him to be removed from the starting rotation by allowing just one baserunner and striking out two in three innings of relief. Starter Tom Gorzelanny couldn't quite match that success, as he was pulled out of the game after just 1 1/3 innings. Gorzelanny was charged with five runs after Chavez inherited a bases-loaded jam and proceeded to give up a grand slam.

Grapefruit League records: Blue Jays 2-6; Pirates 2-6.

Up next: The Blue Jays return to Dunedin, Fla., on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET for their first of two spring meetings against the Twins. Right-hander A.J. Burnett will make the start for Toronto, while Minnesota will counter with lefty Glen Perkins.

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