It was a split squad Sunday for the Toronto Blue Jays as they once again played a pair of games in Florida. Half of the team played against the Detroit Tigers whereas the rest of team and most of their prospects played against the Baltimore Orioles.
Francisco Liriano took to the mound against Orioles pitcher Jayson Aquino. Liriano had a bit of a rough first inning. He allowed two walks, and two stolen bases with Chris Johnson hitting a single on a ground ball to Melvin Upton Jr. as Craig Gentry scored to put the Orioles up 1-0.
That lead wouldn’t last long. The Blue Jays responded quickly with Upton Jr. hitting a leadoff double and switch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia brought him home with a single to tie it up in the first.
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Pitching was a significant factor in today’s game as both sides looked as though they were in mid-season form. Liriano continued his dominate Spring Training. The lefty threw 81 pitches, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hits and 1 run allowed in 4.2 innings.
Things wouldn’t pick until the fourth inning. The Blue Jays penciled in Juan Graterol, who replaced Saltalamacchia behind the plate, and Ryan Goins was hit by a pitch in the elbow that would take him out of the game for precautionary reasons. Tim Lopes would come in as a pinch-runner for Goins. There is no update on Goins elbow just yet.
The pitching rotation was somewhat based on handedness in the early part of the game. Jason Grilli, J.P. Howell and Joe Smith would lock it down after Liriano. The three relievers would only allow one hit to keep it tied 1-1 after seven innings.
In the eighth inning, Tim Mayza, the Blue Jays 2013-12th round draft pick, would be the next Jays reliever to come out of the bullpen. He ran into some trouble against the Orioles. Ryan Flaherty hit a triple off the centre field wall on a 0-2 count. Flaherty would eventually score the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly from Cedric Mullins.
The Blue Jays could not complete the comeback in the ninth inning. Though fans at the game and watching from home did get a glimpse of another prospect. Dusty Isaacs, who would be the final reliver the Jays used in the game.
Even though the Blue Jays lost to the Orioles, they would defeat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in the other split-squad game. With a 10-16 record in Spring Training, the Blue Jays will look to finish off strong in Flordia before heading to Montreal to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a pair of exhibition games next weekend.