WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- A five-run first inning was an indicator of what was to come as the Blue Jays…
Jays Win Spring Opener
Gustavo Chacin, who is battling for a spot in the Jays rotation, started the game despite fighting a fever, and pitched two scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out two.
''I wanted to start this game,'' said the left-hander.
Chacin, who broke four bats in two innings of work, said after the game that he wants to make the team this year and is being motivated by that to work as hard as he ever has.
''He's one of our up-and-coming guys'' said manager John Gibbons after his left hand starter.
Scott Downs, who was signed to a minor league contract in December, gave up the Twins' two runs in the third. Lew Ford hit a one-out triple, and Downs walked Matt LeCroy, the third straight walk in the inning, which forced in a run. Jacque Jones drove in the second run with a groundout to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Jays scored once more in the fourth inning as Reed Johnson lined a single to left field scoring Guillermo Quiroz who doubled earlier in the inning.
Manager John Gibbons threw out several of the candidates fighting for the few remaining pitching spots, and all the candidates performed well in their first turn on the mound. Ryan Glynn, and Chad Gaudin pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth inning respectively as they were then followed by several spring training invitees. Mike Nannini and Spike Lundberg pitched the sixth and seventh inning without allowing a run, and Canadian Vince Perkins had an impressive performance in the eight inning as he struck out two batters. When Gibbons was asked to describe Perkins outing he used just two words.
Matt Whiteside, who is expected to be the closer at Triple-A Syracuse came in the ninth inning with a three run lead and retired the side in order to hold on to the 5-2 lead and give the Jays a victory in their first spring training game of the year.
Stars of the Game
Reed Johnson: 1-2 R RBI
Eric Hinske: 1-2 R RBI
Alexis Rios: 1-3 2RBI
Gustavo Chacin: 2IP 2H 0R 0BB 2SO
Vince Perkins: 1IP 0H 0R 0BB 2SO
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