Barajas' bat comes to life in Bucs' loss
Catcher goes 2-for-2 with two RBIs in Bedard's spring debut
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Travis Snider drove in three runs -- two on a comebacker to the pitcher -- as the Blue Jays downed the Pirates, 8-5, to sweep the teams' Grapefruit League-opening two-game series.Snider's RBI single snapped a 3-3 tie in the fourth, and his rare two-run comebacker in the sixth gave the Blue Jays an 8-3 lead. Rod Barajas, the 36-year-old veteran signed as a free agent to be the Pirates' starting catcher, went 2-for-2, including a two-run single in the third that gave the Bucs a brief 3-2 lead, their first of the spring.
The Blue Jays took advantage of some early wildness by Pirates starter Erik Bedard to grab a 2-0 lead in the first. Leadoff batter Rajai Davis was hit by a pitch and Snider doubled, and they alternately scored on a Ben Francisco sacrifice fly and Brett Lawrie groundout."We need to get him to work lower in the [strike] zone," manager Clint Hurdle said of Bedard. "For everybody's first time out, I don't want to evaluate too much. I want them to do one thing at a time, not look for too much."
Chase d'Arnaud singled for a run off Toronto starter Aaron Laffey in the second, before Barajas' hit off Darren Oliver gave Pittsburgh the lead.With runners on second and third and none out in the sixth, Snider sent a roller to the left of the mound that pitcher Evan Meek fielded on the run. With no one else covering first base, Meek won the race to the bag to retire Snider, but both runners came around to score. Nick Evans, the former Mets first baseman in camp as a non-roster invitee, led off the seventh with a solo homer off Robert Coello for the Pirates' first jack of the spring. Gorkys Hernandez's RBI single with two outs in the inning made it 8-5. The standout defensive play of the game belonged to Toronto catcher Jeff Mathis in the fifth inning, when left-handed-hitting Alex Presley pushed a perfect bunt 15 feet between the mound and the foul line. Mathis pounced on the ball and in the same motion whirled a throw to first that nailed Presley. Up next for Pirates: In their first of seven preseason night games, and in their first of four Grapefruit League meetings with their geographic neighbors, the Bucs hop over to Sarasota to meet the Orioles in a 7:05 p.m. ET affair, available live on MLB.TV. Left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes is due to start as one of three non-roster pitchers scheduled to work (Mike Crotta and Tim Wood are the others). The Pirates will face the third left-hander in as many exhibitions, with Brian Matusz going for the Birds.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.