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Jays lose first spring game

I'm just happy to have baseball back, don't care who wins today.

Josh Donaldson booting the first ball hit to him as a Blue Jay.
Josh Donaldson booting the first ball hit to him as a Blue Jay.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates 8 Blue Jays 7

Not what we hoped to see from Aaron Sanchez.

A strike not called and an error, set up a three run inning against Sanchez. Aaron got two quick outs, a line drive hit right back at it, he made a great, perhaps lifesaving, catch on and a nice play by Russell Martin on a soft tap up the third base line (Navarro doesn't make that), with a great throw a bit wide of first but Justin Smoak made a great catch keeping a foot on the bag. Then it went bad, after a pitch that Sanchez and Martin thought was strike three (Russell Martin said, in an in game interview, that the umpire missed the call), Gregory Polanco had a soft single to left. Then Josh Donaldson booted the first ball hit towards him as a Jay and Pedro Alvarez hit an opposite field homer.

Aaron's second inning didn't go any better. A ground out was followed by a walk, a ground single past first and a hard hit double to score two. That was it for Aaron. He was throwing strikes, early, but seemed to lose it a bit in his second inning. His outing would have looked a lot better if Donaldson had made that play or if he got the strike three call.

Marco Estrada, in his first inning, got a fly out pretty deep to right, a ground out down the first base line and gave up a home run to Jung Ho Kang. After that Estrada got a strikeout to end the inning. His second inning had a line out to right, a ground out (with a nice play by Donaldson), a line single and a pop up for the third out. He looked ok, some hard hit balls, but kept in the strike zone.

Steve Delabar pitched the 5th inning (with Buck and Pat talking him up a bunch, they must be his agent). He gave up a hard line drive to left that Dalton Pompey made a great catch on. Then a ground ball single just past Ryan Goins at short. A fly ball double to the left field corner, that Dalton didn't see (I don't think he would have caught it anyway) drove in the runner from first. After a walk, he got a nice strikeout and an easy fly out to center to end the inning.

Kyle Drabek started the 6th and started things with a nice strikeout, but then gave up a home run. A ground out, single and ground out finished out the inning. He missed with some of his pitches. We are going to hear that he is out of options every time he comes near a ball, but I'm not sure anyone takes him on waivers or if we care if someone does.

Wilton Lopez had an impressive inning, getting two soft ground outs (one on a nice play by Devon Travis) and a strikeout. A very skinny Miguel Castro had a quick 8th inning.  Gregory Infante worked around 3 hits, with the help of a nice throw by A.J. Jimenez to catch a base stealer, to get through a scoreless 9th.

Jays got their first runs of the spring in the third inning. Maicer Izturis, whom Buck and Pat bestowed their first big and strong of 2015 upon, walked and Kevin Pillar followed with a line drive home run. Dalton Pompey had a hard hit single and stolen second and Jose Reyes walked. Russell Martin flied out to medium deep center and Pompey and Reyes tagged up. Reyes should have been out at second (bad idea to run, I think he figured the throw would go to third) but the second baseman dropped the ball. Jose Bautista ground out to third, scoring Dalton. Edwin Encarancion followed with a very long at bat, but he ended up striking out.

The Jays had a couple of hard hit singles in the 5th from Russell Martin and Jose Bautista. An opposite field single from new Jay Daric Barton scored pinch runner Anthony Alford. Alford didn't seem to be running hard on the play and he didn't slide at home (I don't know why he didn't slide or, for that matter, didn't run hard going home, I was looking forward to seeing his speed, and he didn't show it), but the catcher missed the throw home. Chris Colbello had a chance to get us back into it, pinch hitting with the bases load, but he struck out chasing a pinch well off the plate..

We got a couple of runners on in the 8th, Josh Thole singled and Caleb Gindl walked, but Thole got himself thrown out at the plate...a ball got away from the catcher, who made a throw to second trying to get the runner moving up, Steve Lombardozzi bobbled the catch, Thole left third for home but was thrown out by 20 feet.

We had another chance in the 8th. Chris Colabello doubled (Mel Rojas, Jr. dived to catch it but missed and it hit his shoulder) (Mel Rojas, Jr.? Baseball makes me feel old) and Ryan Goins had a hard hit line single up the middle. After Ezequiel Carrera struck out, Chris Dickerson walked to load the bases. Devon Travis ground into a force at the plate, but Thole had his second single of the game, bringing home two and becoming the tying run at first (until he was pinch run for). Caleb Gindl struck out to end the inning.

We got runners on again in the 9th. Barton walked, Matt Hague took a phantom hit by pitch and Mitch Nay drove in 1 with a hard hit single to center, moving the tying run to second. Ryan Goins couldn't put a bunt down to move up the runners and struck out bunting at strike three. If he wants to make the team, he's going to have to get bunts down. Ezequiel Carrera hit into a force at second and it was up to Chris Dickerson with 2 outs and the tying run at third, he walked to pass the moment on to Travis. Travis chopped one to short for the final out. It was a tough play, but Travis didn't make good contact in any of his 4 at bats (it's early).

Offensive heroes: Ryan Goins was 2 for 3 and Josh Thole was each 2 for 2 with 2 RBI. Kevin Pillar had a 2-run home run. Dalton Pompey had a hard hit single and a steal.

Devon Travis went 0 for 4 and Justin Smoak went 0 for 2. Neither looked good at the plate (it is early).

We had good defensive plays from Pompey (he also lost a ball in the sky), Donaldson (who had an error well), Martin (who looked smooth behind the plate), Travis. A.J. Jimenez threw out a base stealer in the ninth. A very nice looking throw.

Our best pitchers were Wilton Lopez and Miguel Castro.

Let's give Pillar and Pompey the Jays of the Day.

We had a nice GameThread, with 955 comments (we missed baseball). I, apparently, missed it most.

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