Blue Jays 7, Pirates 1

BY foxsports • March 3, 2012

Brett Lawrie was doubly impressive in Toronto's spring training opener.

Lawrie hit a pair of two-run doubles as the Blue Jays beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 Saturday. Manager John Farrell was more inclined to talk about Lawrie's work at third base.

''Y'know, the first five outs of the game he probably had four different types of plays over there,'' Farrell said.

Lawrie impressed Farrell by turning a double play on a hard grounder by Jake Fox, stepping on the bag and tossing across the diamond.

''His throws are accurate,'' Farrell said. ''Pretty difficult double play.''

Adam Lind walked and Edwin Encarnacion singled to start the Blue Jays' second against James McDonald. One out later, Lawrie lofted a wind-blown double off the left-center field fence.

''The wind's going to be there,'' McDonald said. ''If you can't deal with that kind of stuff you shouldn't be playing. Go to Chicago, it's windy.''

''There's windy days in Pittsburgh. There's wind everywhere. You've just got to bear down and make your pitches,'' he said.

McDonald said Lawrie hit ''a fastball down and in. I wanted it down and in.''

McDonald pitched two innings. Brad Lincoln and Chris Resop each followed with a scoreless inning.

In the sixth, Lawrie's sinking liner eluded diving center fielder Starling Marte for two more runs.

''He's in the box with a lot of confidence and he had a very good day,'' Farrell said.

''Offensively, I thought we had a lot of good at-bats,'' he said. ''First day out it was good to see a different color uniform and I thought the guys swung the bat very well.''

Farrell also had the pleasure of watching his son, Jeremy, a minor leaguer for the Pirates, play the final five innings. The younger Farrell went 0 for 1.

''Anytime you get to see your son in a game it's rewarding. It's one of those small special moments,'' Farrell said.

Jeremy Farrell is a career .271 hitter in four minor league seasons. The 25-year-old third baseman spent most of last year at Double-A.

Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil, 4-11 last year after a combined 22-11 in his first two seasons, pitched a hitless first inning. Kyle Drabek, Jim Hoey and Scott Richmond each followed with a scoreless inning before Pittsburgh nicked Danny Farquhar in the fifth for two of their three hits, including an RBI single by Michael McKenny.

Drabek struggled with his control last season - 55 walks in 78 2-3 innings - and walked his second batter to face a two-on, no-out jam.

''Even though Kyle had the one base on balls I thought he kept the inning together,'' Farrell said. ''He didn't try to overthrow, get any extra. He gets a ground-ball double play and kind of moves through the inning.''

Eric Thames homered for Toronto.

NOTES: Blue Jays RHP reliever Carlos Villanueva, held out of practice last week over concerns about a blood clot in his pitching arm, is scheduled to throw batting practice Sunday. He will pitch in a simulated game Wednesday and a spring game next weekend. An examination showed no clot; he was given a blood thinner as a precaution. ... Toronto RHP Henderson Alvarez was pulled from Sunday's scheduled start opposite Eric Bedard in the Pirates' home opener at Bradenton, Fla., to give him an extra day of rest based on the number of his recent bullpen and batting-practice pitches. LHP Aaron Laffey will pitch in place of Alvarez.