Duke dominating in outing vs. Rays
Left-hander allows just two hits, strikes out four in five innings
PIRATES 4, RAYS 1
at Bradenton, Fla.
Monday, March 23
Rays at the plate: Outfielder Gabe Gross drove in a run with a two-out double down the left-field line in the eighth. Catcher Dioner Navarro, infielder Reid Brignac and outfielder Justin Ruggiano all singled.
Pirates at the plate: Making the start at third base, Eric Hinske went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. Shortstop Jack Wilson continued to show signs of breaking out of his spring slump with two doubles and two runs scored. Pitcher Zach Duke connected for an RBI double, and first baseman Adam LaRoche went 1-for-3 with a double.Rays on the mound: Jason Hammel, still a candidate for Tampa Bay's final rotation spot, struggled a bit in his fourth spring start. Hammel walked five and gave up six hits and four runs in four innings. Reliever Lance Cormier allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless two-inning appearance. Joe Nelson allowed one hit and struck out one in a scoreless inning. Pirates on the mound: Duke put in another strong performance with five scoreless innings on Monday. Duke allowed two hits, walked two and struck out four in five innings. Donnie Veal, still trying to make the club as a Rule 5 Draft pick, rebounded from some recent control problems to pitch a perfect sixth inning. Tyler Yates tossed a scoreless inning. Chris Bootcheck allowed one run on two hits in the eighth. Grapefruit League records: Pirates 13-9-2, Rays 11-10-1 Up next: The Pirates have a bit of a trek to make on Tuesday as they travel to Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for a 6:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves, who currently boast the best record in the Grapefruit League. Ross Ohlendorf will make the start for Pittsburgh just two days after general manager Neal Huntington said that Ohlendorf still has something left to prove before being given a rotation spot.
The Rays will enjoy their fourth of five off days this spring on Tuesday. However, in order to keep left-hander Scott Kazmir on his normal pitching schedule, he will throw in a Minor League game at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. When the Major League team gets back in action on Wednesday, righty Jeff Niemann will be making the start for Tampa Bay in a 7:05 p.m. home game against the Pirates.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.