The Toronto Blue Jays managed to pick up another Grapefruit League win on Wednesday, riding a strong start from Marco Estrada, and a walk off home run, to a 5-4 victory.
The Blue Jays are starting to see more encouraging signs every day, and Wednesday’s action against the Detroit Tigers provided a couple more. Marco Estrada looked very strong, and hey, the Blue Jays won another game, after struggling for most of the spring in the win column.
Estrada was indeed dynamite, pitching 5 strong frames, allowing just 2 hits, no walks, and finishing with 5 strikeouts on the afternoon. The free-agent-to-be finished his outing by retiring the last 14 batters he faced. He is looking healthy and prepared for another regular season, so here’s hoping his back holds up.
Beyond Estrada, the Blue Jays got decent or better outings from Jason Grilli, J.P. Howell and Joe Smith out of the bullpen. All 3 relievers allowed a hit in their innings of work, with Howell recording 2 strikeouts and Grilli fanning 1 batter as well. The trio hasn’t inspired a ton of confidence during spring games, so it was nice to see some zeros put up by the bullpen today.
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On the down side, Joe Biagini was touched up a bit, blowing his first save of Grapefruit League action. He struck out 2, but gave up 3 hits including a 3 run home run to Dominic Ficociello, giving the Tigers the lead. Despite the rough outing, he has looked good through the month of March.
On offence, Troy Tulowitzki, Kevin Pillar and Steve Pearce had a hit a piece in the early going. Josh Donaldson finished 0-1 in his second spring game, but managed another walk. He also manned third base for the first time this spring, an encouraging signs for fans and coaches alike. Justin Smoak was 0-2 as well, bringing his spring batting average to .150.
The Blue Jays re-gained the lead in the 9th inning after Jon Berti and Mike Ohlman each reached with 1-out singles. Little known infielder, Shane Opitz stepped up and delivered a 3 run shot, walking the Blue Jays off for a 5-4 victory, and saving Biagini from the loss.
The Blue Jays are off on Thursday before taking on the Boston Red Sox on Friday. J.A. Happ is scheduled to make the start, and Devon Travis is also slated to play second base for the first time in major league camp. The game gets underway at 1:08 EST on Friday, and Florida Auto Exchange Stadium,