Dustin McGowan looked good, throwing three solid innings in the Blue Jays 6-3 win over the Astros. He gave up a run in the first inning, but shutdown the Astros in the next two innings. A walk to Jordan Schafer and a errant pickoff throw by Travis d’Arnaud allowed Schafer to advance to third, where he scored on a ground ball out. He may eventually have scored when Carlos Lee doubled with two out. He threw strikes, stayed ahead in the count and kept the ball in the infield.
Zach Duke was not as sharp for the Astros, giving up four runs in the first two innings, before settling down the last two innings. In the first inning Duke did a poor job of holding runners with Rajai Davis stealing second and third off him and Eric Thames stealing second. Thames lined a catchable ball to centerfield, but the ball glanced off Jordan Schafer as he charged for the ball, allowing one run to score and Travis d’Arnaud to advance to third. Myworld felt an error should have been given to Schafer to allow Travis to get to third, where he scored the second run of the inning on a ground out.
In the second inning Jonathan Diaz led off the inning with a single and Anthony Gose dragged a bunt to the right side where he easily beat it out. Gose had passed by Lee by the time Carlos picked the ball up and the pitcher was nowhere near first. Travis Snider drove them both in with a hard line drive double down the right field line. Duke put runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth after another Diaz single and a slow bouncer to short that Angel Sanchez tried to bare hand but the ball went past his hand and into short left field, Diaz moving to third and Gose to second. Rajai Davis popped to short, Snider struck out for the second time in the game and d’Arnaud flied out to center to end the inning.
The Astros scored a run in the sixth when Mike Mccoy booted a grounder at third base which eventually allowed Jordan Schafer to score. The Blue Jays got the run back in the top of the eighth on a Yan Gomes RBI double. Jake Marisnick hit a solo shot in the ninth that went just inside the foul pole, though the ball was hit far above the pole.
Game Notes: Not impressed with the Astros possibilities for the outfield and shortstop. It will be a long season for them. Too many catchable balls being misplayed, though it is early in spring training…For a lefthander, Zach Duke did not hold runners on first well. They were getting giant jumps off him…Luis Valbuena looked hopeless against the lefty Duke, striking out twice. Four of the five batters Duke struck out were lefthanders (Snider striking out twice as well)…Francisco Abad looked good in the ninth, getting the first two hitters looking with his curveball. Jake then pulled an inside fastball over the left field fence…Kyle Drabek pitched well for thiree innings, showing excellent command. He retired the first six hitters he faced, striking out one and walking none.
Prospect Watch: Both Michael Crousse and A.J. Jimenez got one bat appearances and struck out, Michael swinging and A.J. looking…Jake Marisnick pulled an inside fastball high over the left field foul pole in his only at bat…Jonathan Diaz may not be a prospect, but he looked good at second, robbing Jose Altuve of a hit with a diving catch of a ground ball and getting Jose out at first. He also got two singles in three at bats. Diaz has been getting some playing time and looking good with the bat and in the field…David Cooper got a start and went 1 for 4, going the other way for a line drive single. He also looked solid defensively at first, but he will fall far short of the offense needed for a first baseman…The Astros did not play any prospects, other than Marwin Gonzalez entering the game at second for defense in the top of the ninth. It appears that they will keep their prospects in the minors for a year, not losing service time, while journeymen play the season out, giving the Astros a second straight number one pick.