Right fielder goes 2-for-2 with walk as Buehrle, Stroman get in work
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right fielder Kevin Kiermaier homered and scored two runs to lead the Rays to a 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the third inning on an RBI single by center fielder Desmond Jennings. Kiermaier added to the Rays' lead in the following inning with a two-run shot to right-center field. His first home run of the spring came on the first pitch off rookie right-hander Marcus Stroman.
The Rays picked up where they left off with another rally off Stroman in the fifth. Left fielder Matt Joyce kept the inning alive with a two-out double to center and came around to score on a single by Wil Myers. Stroman, who is competing for a spot in Toronto's starting rotation, was charged with three runs on four hits while striking out one over three innings of work.
Cameron Seitzer rounded out the Rays' scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth in front of his father, Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.
Right-hander Alex Cobb got the start for the Rays and was relatively impressive during his second outing of the spring. Cobb allowed just two hits and one walk before departing in the fourth inning. The 26-year-old did not allow a run and threw 31 of his 47 pitches for strikes.
"Today the outlook was to just kind of go out there and pitch," Cobb said. "They have a really good lineup out there. Those guys are one of the better hitting teams in the league. They haven't really been able to show it of late, but they're a dangerous lineup. So I really just wanted to go out there and pitch, and execute some pitches, and try and get some ground-ball outs."
Veteran Mark Buehrle made his second start of the spring for Toronto and allowed one run over the course of three innings. He scattered four hits and one walk while throwing 28 of his 44 pitches for strikes.
"I was pounding the strike zone; I felt like everything was working for me," Buehrle said. "Last game, sinkers were terrible. Today threw a few more that were better pitches, better quality pitches. Changeup was probably the best it has been in three years that I can remember. It was just one of those days that you want to corral everything and wish it was during the season."
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista had a productive day at the plate by going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk. His RBI came in the fifth inning on a sharp grounder to shortstop that was knocked down by a diving Sean Rodriguez. Toronto added two more runs in the bottom of the ninth off Matt Andriese.
Up next for the Blue Jays: Right-hander Drew Hutchison will take the mound Saturday when the Blue Jays host Minnesota in a 1:05 p.m. ET matinee affair at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, available on MLB.TV and on Gameday Audio. Hutchison will be making his second start of the spring and appears to be a clear frontrunner for one of the final two spots in Toronto's rotation. Right-handers Dustin McGowan, Esmil Rogers and Kyle Drabek also are scheduled to pitch for the Blue Jays. Colby Rasmus is considered questionable for the game and will most likely need at least another day to recover from a neck injury before he can return.