First baseman drives in two runs after Morrow's first spring start has some bumps
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Pirates roughed up right-hander Brandon Morrow over three innings en route to a 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Former Toronto outfielder Travis Snider led the way for the Pirates by going 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs. His home run off Morrow in the third inning was a no-doubter to right-center field. Snider also scored a run and had an RBI single in the first.
Neil Walker also was a standout on offense while getting the start at designated hitter. Pittsburgh's regular second baseman went 2-for-4 with a run scored, and first baseman Gaby Sanchez added an RBI double in the second inning.
Morrow struggled during his second appearance -- and first start -- of the spring. Toronto's No. 2 starter allowed five runs on six hits while walking one and striking out two. Morrow threw 31 of his 48 pitches for strikes.
"He was all right," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Morrow. "He didn't start the game too well, hit batter and then a walk. But I thought in the second, he was much better. What got him, he had an 0-2 pitch that he left up and then it unraveled a little bit. But overall, we saw some things that we like to see, regardless of the runs they put up."
Right-hander Jay Jackson got the start for Pittsburgh and was relatively flawless in his two innings. His lone blemish came in the second, when Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro hit a two-out single to right field. Jackson retired the next batter and got four of his six outs via relatively weak fly balls.
The Blue Jays went on the offensive in the third inning by scoring two runs off Duke Welker, who was able to record just two outs. Toronto then added two more runs in the fourth off right-hander Jake Brigham, who was eventually able to settle down and get through two innings.
Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion had another productive day at the plate with a two-run double to left in the third. It was Encarnacion's third extra-base hit of the spring in 14 at-bats; he now has four RBIs during the Grapefruit League season.
Second baseman Chris Getz and left fielder John Tolleson also had an RBI each for the Blue Jays.
Up next: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will make his second start of the spring when the Blue Jays visit the Pirates on Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field. Buehrle is expected to throw three innings and will be followed on the mound by Ricky Romero, Marcus Stroman and Brett Cecil. Outfielders Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera will be among the regular position players making the one-hour drive for the game in Bradenton, Fla., which is set to get underway at 1:05 p.m. ET, live exclusively on a bluejays.com webcast.