BRADENTON, Fla. -- While Saturday's contest between the Rays and Pirates at McKechnie Field was headlined by strong performances by one Opening Day starter and another potential one, Luke Scott wanted to make sure the game wasn't solely dominated by pitching.
Hitting out of the leadoff spot and serving as Tampa's DH, Scott led off the fifth inning with a long home run to right off potential Pirates Opening Day starter Jeff Karstens as Tampa beat Pittsburgh, 2-1. It was the only blemish on the right-hander's day.
Karstens became the first Pirates pitcher to go five innings this spring, allowing just the one run on three hits. He also walked three and struck out five in his second official Grapefruit League outing.
"The last three innings, yes," said Karstens when asked if he thought his outing went well. "The first two innings, I was a little out of it. I think I was trying to do too much. I kept hitting the outside corner, but it wasn't the corner. I kept hitting [catcher] Rod [Barajas' target]. It [Barajas' target] was just a little off the plate and I didn't realize that. I kept trying to move it back a little bit, but wasn't getting it. It wasn't like I was missing by a ton."
James Shields has already been announced as the Rays' starter for the opener and he looked just about ready to go. The right-hander went six innings and allowed just four hits, one of them being Andrew McCutchen's first home run of the spring, a solo shot with one out in the sixth. It was the first run he's allowed all spring, spanning 12 innings. He struck out seven and walked none.
"I wasn't planning on going six, but I feel really good out there," Shields said. "It's really good to get those up and downs. I mean, that's the most important thing in Spring Training for the starters, get those up and downs. And really get the hot and cold. Today was a good day for that."
Up next: Charlie Morton travels with the Pirates to Fort Myers, Fla., to take on the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. It will be Morton's second outing this spring as he continues to make his way back from offseason hip surgery. The right-hander threw two scoreless innings on March 12, though he did allow four hits. Jared Hughes, Evan Meek, Tony Watson, Juan Cruz and Chris Leroux are also expected to pitch.