Blue Jays end pre-season with win in Montreal
Upton Jr., Tellez both hit home runs against Pirates
Melvin Upton Jr. and Rowdy Tellez hit home runs as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 to end the pre-season play for both clubs on Saturday afternoon.
A crowd of 52,202 turned out to Olympic Stadium for the second of the two-game set. The teams played to a 1-1 tie on Friday night before 43,180.
The Jays scored one in the second and narrowly missed a much bigger inning. With the bases loaded, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a long ball to right that drifted just foul before being called out on strikes. Upton finally brought in Troy Tulowitzki on a fielder's choice, but then was caught stealing to end the threat.
It was the same in the third. After Kendrys Morales doubled home Kevin Pillar, the Jays loaded the bases but left-hander Dan Runzler came on in relief of starter Chad Kuhl and got Steve Pearce to pop up to first to end the inning.
Jays starter Francisco Liriano was lifted with two out in the fourth in favour of Mike Bolsinger. He was greeted with Josh Bell's base hit to right to score Andrew McCutchen, but then ended it by striking out Phil Gosselin.
Upton took reliever Tyler Glasnow over the wall, scoring Saltalamacchia, in the fourth.
But Bolsinger's woes continued in the fifth as Pittsburgh tied it 4-4. Elias Diaz and Cole Tucker hit back-to-back doubles and Adam Frazier followed with a run-scoring single. A pair of wild pitches brought in Tucker. Canadian Eric Wood singled in Frazier before lefty Tim Mayza took over on the mound and retired three Pirates in a row.
Bolsinger's line was one-third inning pitched, five hits and three earned runs.
Darwin Barney singled in Jake Elmore in the sixth and Tellez added a long solo homer in the seventh.
It is the fourth year in a row that the Jays have ended their pre-season with a pair of games in Montreal, where fans hope to show Major League Baseball they deserve to get a team back to replace the departed Expos. This year's total attendance of 95,382 was the lowest yet, but only slightly from the first two years. Last year's games exceptionally drew 105,922.
On Monday, Toronto opens the regular season in Baltimore while the Pirates are in Boston.
Eight Quebecers who played in the major leagues were honoured in a pre-game ceremony, including Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne, Claude Raymond, Denis Boucher, Derek Aucoin, Philippe Aumont, Steve Green, Eric Cyr and Raymond Daviault. They were joined on the field by Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who grew up in Montreal, and Friday night's honouree, former Expo Tim Raines.