Blue Jays play long ball in support of strong Norris
Tolleson, Pillar go deep to back southpaw, who allows one run in six innings
By Gregor Chisholm and Brittany Ghiroli
SARASOTA, Fla. -- A pair of homers paved the way for Toronto on Wednesday, with Steve Tolleson and Kevin Pillar each going deep in the Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Orioles.
After an early unearned run, Tolleson homered in the third off O's starter Wei-Yin Chen to push the Jays' lead to 2-0. Pillar went deep off Orioles righty Ryan Webb in the sixth, connecting for a two-run shot, and Toronto extended its lead with a sacrifice fly by Ezequiel Carrera in the eighth.
Tolleson makes his case: Tolleson has been somewhat of an afterthought in the discussion at second base, but he let his bat do the talking vs. Baltimore. Tolleson hit a solo home run to deep left field off Chen. It was Tolleson's second of the spring, and the fact it came off a lefty shows where his true value lies. Tolleson had an .844 OPS against left-handers last year and could fill a platoon role for the Blue Jays.
Chen fine-tuning new offering: The lefty went five innings and allowed two runs (one earned) in an impressive outing. Chen made a nice defensive play and continues to work on his new changeup grip.
"I would say it is much better," Chen said through his interpreter of the change. "But still sometimes I think about the grips or how I'm going to throw the pitches. But I am still going to keep tinkering in the bullpen. But hopefully by the start of the season I don't have to think about it and I can just throw it naturally."
Delmon goes deep:Delmon Young clobbered the first pitch he saw in the seventh inning from reliever Steve Delabar for his second homer of the spring. The outfielder was one of just a few offensive bright spots for Baltimore, as the O's were held to just five hits.
Matusz making case:Brian Matusz continued his impressive spring, picking up two strikeouts in a scoreless top of the seventh. The lefty, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors this spring, has allowed only one earned run in 11 1/3 Grapefruit League innings.
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez will take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Phillies on Thursday at 1:07 p.m. ET in a game that can be heard live in an exclusive webcast on bluejays.com. Sanchez will be making his fifth start of the spring and will be matched up against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. Also tentatively scheduled to pitch are closer Brett Cecil, rookie Miguel Castro and Delabar. For Cecil, it will mark his first official spring game after previously dealing with soreness in his shoulder.