Cole, Taillon look solid in spring debut vs. Jays
Slugging Alvarez leads the Pirates on offense with pair of doubles
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus had a pair of RBIs and Munenori Kawasaki collected two hits as the Blue Jays remained undefeated this spring with a 4-2 victory over the Pirates on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Rasmus opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with a line-drive single to right off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole. Toronto's center fielder later added another RBI in the fifth on a slow grounder back to the pitcher that scored Ryan Goins from third base.
Kawasaki provided a lift during his first start of the spring with a pair of singles. He also scored two runs as starting shortstop Jose Reyes got the day off. Dioner Navarro was another standout on offense for the Blue Jays with an RBI double in the first inning.
Cole made his first appearance this spring for the Pirates and was charged with two runs over two innings. He also allowed three hits while striking out two. The first inning created some issues for Cole, but he recorded a three-up, three-down inning in the second, which included a pair of strikeouts.
When asked what he was aiming to work on in his first start of the spring, Cole said he was, "getting a feel back for everything, just trying to keep the fastball down and get comfortable back on the mound again."
After Cole got in his work for the day, the Pirates brought in Jameson Taillon. Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect was on top of his game, allowing just one hit over two scoreless innings.
Left-hander Mark Buehrle made the start for Toronto and allowed one run over two innings. The veteran starter said afterwards that he experienced some issues locating his sinker as he allowed just two hits and one walk with a strikeout. Brandon Morrow then entered the game and allowed two hits and one run over his two innings.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez led the way on offense for Pittsburgh with a pair of doubles. Alvarez just missed a home run off Buehrle with a shot off the wall in straightaway center and then he followed three innings later with a double to right-center field off Morrow.
Up next: The Pirates will return home to McKechnie Field to face the Rays on Saturday. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to make his first Spring Training start against Tampa Bay ace David Price, and right-handers Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro, Duke Welker, Josh Kinney, Casey Sadler and Zack Thornton are also slated to pitch for Pittsburgh. Expect to see Starling Marte, Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen, Gaby Sanchez and recently acquired infielder Brent Morel atop the Bucs' starting lineup. The game can be heard live in an exclusive webcast on Pirates.com at 1:05 p.m. ET.