Blue Jays defeat Pirates 4-2, Relievers pitch 5 innings of shutout


The 3rd spring training game for the Blue Jays, and a different opposition other than the Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates came into the Jays’ spring training stadium today. And the Jays would improve to a meaningless 3-0 in spring training, defeating the Pirates minus McCutchen and others, by a score of 4-2.

Blue Jays gave most of their regulars a rest today after playing in the first two games, the players competing for bench positions on the 25-man roster got a chance to perform.

Anthony Gose (LF) — 0 for 2, 1 walk
Munenori Kawasaki (SS) — 2 for 2, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 sb
Colby Rasmus (CF) — 1 for 3, 2 RBIs, 1 run
Adam Lind (1B) — 0 for 3
Dioner Navarro (C) — 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Moises Sierra (RF) — 1 for 3
Dan Johnson (DH) — 0 for 2, strikeout
Maicer Izturis (3B) — 0 for 2
Ryan Goins (2B) — 0 for 2, 1 run, walk, strikeout

Mark Buehrle [2 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 43 pitches/28 strikes] began his start like his usual quick and efficient self, throwing 15 pitches for 10 strikes in a 1-2-3 1st inning. Later got into a bit of a jam in the 2nd when he gave up 2 hits leading to a Pirates’ run.

Against Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole [2 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K]—who is entering his 2nd season in the major leagues, after a more than impressive rookie campaign, the Jays were able to strike early with 3 left handed bats (Kawasaki, Rasmus, Navarro [Switch]) getting hits off the 22 year old for 2 runs in the 1st. But Cole would retire the final 4 batters faced to end his outing.

Brandon Morrow [2 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 24 pitches/14 strikes], like Buehrle, had a quick 1-2-3 1st inning of work–in his first game appearance since May 28th of last season, when he suffered a forearm injury and missed the rest of the season in 2013. With his fastball reaching low 90s on the radar gun. Morrow gave up back-to-back doubles to begin 4th leading to the Pirates tying the game at 2. But would finish with on a positive note, retiring the next 3 batters.

Blue Jays broke the 2-2 tie in the 5th when they capitalized on Andy Oliver loading the bases on 3 straight walks–Rasmus grounded out to score a run. The Jays took the lead and that was all they needed to eventually win 4-2.

Munenori Kawasaki–who is a long shot to make the 25-man roster–had the best game of the position players, showcasing his versatility by getting 2-hits off of groundball singles, stealing a base, scoring a run, drawing a walk, and playing some solid defense at short.

All-Star Steve Delabar threw a flawless 3 up, 3 down 5th inning, and ended up as the winning pitcher of record. And even had time to sign some fan autographs afterwards.

The combination of Blue Jays relievers (Delabar, Jenkins, Nolin, Sanchez, and Hendricks) combined to shutout the Pirates over the final 5 innings on 2-hits.

Blue Jays number 1 prospect, Aaron Sanchez [1 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 BB, 1 K] made an appearance on the mound, pitching the 8th inning. Sanchez struck out his first batter, Willy Garcia on a filthy breaking ball in the dirt. Began to struggle with command after getting the 2nd out, giving a hit between two walks before getting a groundball to strand the bases loaded. Sanchez’s velocity was on display, touching 96 MPH on his fastball.

A few pre-game notes:
From Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell, manager John Gibbons confirmed that the starting 2nd base position is Ryan Goins‘ to lose.

While Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that Gibbons is still deciding on the order of the starting rotation, the idea of starting Morrow (a hard thrower) in between Dickey and Buehrle (soft throwers) in the rotation.

Reliever Sergio Santos was scheduled to pitch an inning in today’s game, but a stomach bug pushed back his outing to Tuesday.

The Toronto Blue Jays will be taking on the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow afternoon at 1:05pm est. Drew Hutchison is expected to start opposite Miguel Gonzalez.