Braves rout Blue Jays in split squad game
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Morrow wasn’t concerned about one tough inning.
Morrow allowed four of his five runs in the fifth inning Saturday during the Toronto Blue Jays’ 10-5 loss to an Atlanta Braves spilt squad.
Morrow wound up giving up eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He has allowed 15 runs over 15 innings in five starts.
“I was cruising, and a hiccup there getting out of the fifth,” Morrow said. “They hit some good pitches. Guys got their hands in on some inside fastballs, which were well located. They kind of singled me to death.”
Reed Johnson had a two-run single, the Braves’ fourth consecutive hit off Morrow with two outs in the fifth, that pulled Atlanta to 4-3. After the tying run scored on Morrow’s wild pitch, Justin Upton hit a run-scoring infield single for a 5-4 lead.
“Good, except for that one inning,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Looked like he ran out of gas a little bit.”
In all, six straight Braves reached — on five singles and a walk — in the fifth, after Morrow had retired nine in a row.
Minor league callup Edward Salcedo hit an eighth-inning solo homer and had a three-run drive in the ninth for the Braves. It was his first two at-bats in a major league spring training game.
Rajai Davis, Melky Cabrera and J.P. Arencibia all hit solo homers off Sean Gilmartin, who gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings.
“You can’t leave the ball over the plate and up,” Gilmartin said. “They’re going to be a tough team to beat in the AL East.”
Toronto closer Casey Janssen was feeling some body soreness, a day after striking out two during a scoreless inning against Boston. He is scheduled to pitch again Monday against Philadelphia.
Gibbons expects Janssen to be ready for opening day. The right-hander, who finished with 22 saves last season, had surgery in November to address lingering shoulder soreness.
“I think we’re working towards that, and I think that’s everybody’s hope,” Janssen said. “We’re taking it outing by outing, day by day. See how it goes Monday. It’s not doubt. I don’t want to give false hope. I’m probably more than a little on the conservative side.”
Gibbons was not ready to say how he plans to use his bullpen in eighth-inning situations. He didn’t rule out using Sergio Santos, who would take over the closer’s role if Janssen was not ready to start to start the season, in key relief situations before the eighth.
Santos missed almost all of last season after shoulder surgery.
“He’s healthy, but he’s not spotting it real well right now,” Gibbons said. “We’ve got to fine-tune him. When that happens, that’s when he’s really good.”
After Davis homered in the first, Gilmartin induced an inning-ending, double-play grounder from Adam Lind with the bases loaded. The left-hander gave up Cabrera’s homer and Maicer Izturis’ two-run single during a three-run third that made it 4-1.
Arencibia’s homer tied it at 5 in the fifth.
B.J. Upton joined his brother Justin, as did fellow Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward on the trip. The trio went 3 for 9.
“When you look at our outfield, it’s going to unbelieveable,” Gilmartin said.
NOTES: Salcedo has not played above Class A in the regular season. … Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion (sore index finger) could play Monday. … Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie (strained rib) is fielding grounders and hitting off a tee. He might be able to return in a few days. … Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle is to pitch in a minor league game Sunday and not make the trip to Fort Myers for the game against Minnesota. … Atlanta RHP Cristhian Martinez gave up two hits over three shutout innings. … Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan, who had three shoulder operations in the last five years, threw an inning in a minor league game.