The Blue Jays wrapped up their final spring game in Florida this afternoon with a win over the rival Red Sox. The contest was a weird affair with a number of strange plays keeping the fans interested. In terms of meaningful news, Drew Hutchison was fairly good in his last start before Opening Day going three innings allowing three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
The scoring got underway in the first inning when Josh Donaldson hit a ball to the mini Green Monster in left field with the bases loaded that got stuck under the wall and was ruled a two-base hit that scored two (even though it should have cleared the bases). After Dioner Navarro walked, Dalton Pompey hit an infield fly that was dropped and then Encarnacion was tagged out running home for some unknown reason for the inning-ending double play.
The Blue Jays made it 3-0 in the third when Encarnacion redeemed himself as he hit a bomb to left field for a solo shot. The fourth inning saw Dioner Navarro beat out a dropped strike three and eventually come around to score on a Devon Travis sacrifice fly.
Marco Estrada relieved Hutchison in the fourth and got tagged for an inside-the-park home run when Jose Bautista had to deal with an unfortunate bounce in the right field corner before slipping and lateraling the ball to Pompey who was unable to get the ball back to the infield in time to avoid Allen Craig coming all the way round to score.
Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna made a mess of the sixth inning adding to the anxiousness that a lot of people feel over the duo being put on the 25-man roster yesterday. Hanley Ramirez tagged a hanging Castro breaking ball for a double before Osuna came in and struck out Allen Craig before surrendering two straight walks on nearly all fastballs. The trouble continued as Jeff Bianchi hit a bases-clearing double on a hanging slider to tie the score at four apiece. If you want to be really critical of just one appearance, neither of the young Jays pitchers looked very sharp and Osuna's fastball command was especially worrying (horse is dead).
The Blue Jays batted around in the seventh inning as Justin Smoak hit a RBI double followed shortly after by a Navarro RBI single. Another run came in on a sac fly that scored Danny Valencia to end the half of the inning with a 7-4 scoreline for Toronto.
Colt Hynes had a clean inning aside from a walk which should make fans feel slightly better about the bullpen situation. The Jays got another run from a rare Ryan Goins homer before a Danny Valencia ground-rule double got the team their ninth run scoring Steve Tolleson. A few Red Sox runs off Bobby Korecky and Dustin Antolin wrapped up the scoring on the day.
Overall a solid day for the team although the struggles with Castro and Osuna should cause a small eyebrow raise. The squad now flies to Montreal in preparation for their set of games with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday and Saturday. The Jays ended their Grapefruit League campaign with an 18-12 record which was one of the better records.