Marcus Stroman had his best groundball stuff going in his final start of Spring Training. Stroman went four scoreless innings, scattering four hits and struck out two. He didn’t allow a walk.
Six of the 12 outs were recorded on ground balls, and several of the hits were hit on the ground as well. Usually pitchers have a let down in their final Spring start, but Stroman showed he is ready for the season.
The Blue Jays scored their only run in the third inning when a Kevin Pillar ground out scored Darwin Barney who tripled to lead off the frame.
Toronto started what could be a regular season lineup, although it likely won’t be their Opening Day lineup. They were missing Devon Travis and Jose Bautista. Travis was held back to avoid the turf at Olympic Stadium, and Bautista is attending his brother’s wedding.
Before the game started, Montreal celebrated Tim Raines being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Former teammates Bill Lee, Dennis Martinez, Al Oliver, Jeff Reardon, Warren Cromartie, and David Palmer were on hand to help celebrate.
Several more former teammates including Tim Wallach and Andre Dawson sent video messages as well as Dave Van Horne and Charles Bronfman, among others.
Josh Donaldson went 2-3 with a couple of singles, and was the best regular on the night. Pillar, Barney, and Jake Elmore were the only other Jays to get hits. Blue Jays hitters also struck out 11 times.
A bright spot for Toronto was the bullpen. Joe Biagini allowed a run in one inning, but Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, J.P. Howell, Jason Grilli, and Roberto Osuna allowed only four baserunners over four innings.
Adam Frazier knocked in Jordy Mercer with a triple off the wall in the fifth inning. Ezequiel Carrera had trouble with the ball, and Frazier tried to score on the play but was thrown out.
Jameson Taillon, who has Canadian citizenship, started for the Pirates and allowed a run and three hits over three innings.
The Blue Jays showed off some of their versatility throughout the game. Steve Pearce played left field and first base, Barney played second base and left field, and Melvin Upton Jr. played left field and centre. Perhaps John Gibbons was getting a final look at how his bench will be formed.
The two teams will play again tomorrow afternoon with Francisco Liriano set to face his former team for the Blue Jays against Chad Kuhl. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. and the game will be on Sportsnet.