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Jays' Morrow fires 3-hit shutout vs. Mets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- With all four of his pitches working, Brandon Morrow didn't give the New York Mets much of a chance.

Morrow pitched his second shutout in four starts, blanking the Mets on three hits and leading the Toronto Blue Jays over New York 2-0 on Saturday.

"Right now he's obviously pitching with a lot of confidence," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He set out in spring training to get a more consistent feel for his curveball and changeup and you've seen the whole package come together."

Morrow (5-2) struck out eight and walked one to win for the fifth time in six outings. He has three career shutouts, including a victory over the Los Angeles Angels on May 3.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Morrow said. "As long as I'm locating my fastball, I think I'm going to have a good game."

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Besides the fastball, Morrow was able to use his curve, slider and changeup to keep the Mets guessing.

"He was down in the strike zone, just pitched ahead in the count all day," Farrell said. "And he could go to any one of those four pitches when needed."

Morrow also benefited from a call in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston led off with a walk and went to third on Mike Baxter's one-out single. Baxter tried to stretch his hit into a double but was thrown out at second base by Jose Bautista, with shortstop Yunel Escobar applying the swipe tag. Replays confirmed that Baxter was not touched and should have been safe.

"It was huge," Toronto's Kelly Johnson said. "It was a scary situation. You're looking at second and third with one out and the middle of their order [coming up]. They still have [David] Wright on the bench. That was a huge defensive play from our best player."

Baxter yelled at Knight before turning the argument over to manager Terry Collins.

"(Knight) said he thought (Escobar) tagged (Baxter) on the back," Collins said. "I thought if (Knight) didn't have a good view of it (he should) ask and he said he couldn't, so that was it. I pretty much had no argument after that."

Rather than dealing with a potential Mets rally, Morrow swiftly ended the game by getting Daniel Murphy to line out to shortstop.

"That's a tough one to lose," Collins said.

Led by Morrow, Toronto matched its season high by winning its fourth in a row overall.

New York lost for the sixth time in nine games and saw starter Miguel Batista leave with a sore lower back after two scoreless innings.

The right-hander warmed up for the third but had to be replaced by righty Jeremy Hefner, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo before the game.

Batista said he tweaked a muscle in his back throwing a 3-2 cutter to Eric Thames in the second.

"I felt a pull there and it felt funny," Batista said. "After that I felt it every pitch."

Hefner (0-1) held the Blue Jays in check until the fifth, when ninth-place hitter Jeff Mathis singled with two outs. Kelly Johnson doubled to center and the ball got past Andres Torres for an error, allowing Mathis to score the opening run and sending Johnson to third. Escobar followed with an RBI single to right.

Wright, whose .409 batting average is highest in the majors, was held out of the lineup. Collins said the third baseman is still slowed by an illness and could be kept out of Sunday's series finale.

Escobar and Johnson each doubled and singled.

Morrow set down the first seven batters he faced before Ronny Cedeno singled through the right side in the third. Unfazed, Morrow retired the next 13 Mets batters in order, a streak that ended with Lucas Duda's two-out double to right in the seventh. Morrow promptly ended the inning by striking out Ike Davis.

"The guy's got such electric stuff," Johnson said. "When he's locating like that and working at that pace, it just makes it so easy on us."

Notes

  • Mets INF Jordany Valdespin was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Hefner.
  • Mets OF Jason Bay (fractured rib) hit off a tee Saturday and remains on track to resume full batting practice Monday in Pittsburgh.
  • Blue Jays LHP Evan Crawford (back spasms) was not available.
  • Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero went 0 for 4 Friday in his first game action at extended spring training, splitting time between the outfield and DH.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Brandon Morrow strikes out eight and walks just one as he records the second shutout in his past four starts.  (Getty Images)
Brandon Morrow strikes out eight and walks just one as he records the second shutout in his past four starts. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Toronto

K. Johnson
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Toronto

B. Morrow
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 8
 
New York Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andres Torres, CF4000012 .212
Mike Baxter, DH4010000 .351
Daniel Murphy, 2B4000011 .323
Lucas Duda, RF3010000 .273
Ike Davis, 1B3000011 .160
Justin Turner, 3B3000010 .204
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, LF3000020 .276
Ronny Cedeno, SS3010010 .211
Mike Nickeas, C2000011 .163
   a- Scott Hairston, PH0000100 .257
Totals2903018  
a-walked for Nickeas in the 9th
Batting
2B - Lucas Duda (5, Morrow)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Andres Torres (2, Misplayed grounder)
New York Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Miguel Batista 2100120 3.95
Jeremy Hefner (L,0-1) 5422050 2.25
Tim Byrdak 0.1000000 3.18
Jon Rauch 0.2100110 4.15
IBB - Encarnacion by Jon Rauch
Pitches-Strikes - Miguel Batista 39-24, Jeremy Hefner 65-43, Tim Byrdak 4-3, Jon Rauch 18-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Miguel Batista 2-2, Jeremy Hefner 6-4
Batters Faced - Miguel Batista 8, Jeremy Hefner 19, Tim Byrdak 1, Jon Rauch 4
Toronto Blue Jays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Kelly Johnson, 2B4121000 .263
Yunel Escobar, SS4021001 .259
Jose Bautista, RF4000003 .204
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B3010110 .271
J.P. Arencibia, DH4000033 .250
Eric Thames, LF2000100 .258
Rajai Davis, CF3000032 .265
Yan Gomes, 3B3000002 .375
    Omar Vizquel, 3B0000000 .095
Jeff Mathis, C3110010 .207
Totals3026228  
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (2, Hefner), Yunel Escobar (6, Rauch), Edwin Encarnacion (10, Batista)
RBI - Kelly Johnson (22), Yunel Escobar (14)
2-OUT RBI - Kelly Johnson (11), Yunel Escobar (5)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jose Bautista 1
Toronto Blue Jays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brandon Morrow (W,5-2) 9300180 2.63
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Morrow 107-76
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Morrow 6-12
Batters Faced - Brandon Morrow 30
Game Information
Attendance - 34962
Game Time - 2:12
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Mike Muchlinski, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Mark Wegner