Happ, Rogers struggle in loss to Pirates
Left-hander allows seven earned runs on 12 hits over three-plus frames
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Starling Marte had five hits and Jose Tabata collected four hits with a home run and the two combined for eight RBIs on a blustery Tuesday as the Bucs downed Toronto, 22-5, at McKechnie Field.
Marte did all that damage within the first four innings, punctuating it with a three-run homer off Esmil Rogers in the fourth.
Tabata also homered in that eight-run fourth off Rogers and capped his game with an RBI double in the fifth that built the Pirates' lead to 14-3.
Pittsburgh ended up with 29 hits on a day manager Clint Hurdle went with his likely Opening Day lineup through six innings -- with the possible exception of the starting pitcher. Wandy Rodriguez started on Tuesday, and fellow left-hander Francisco Liriano is still scheduled to oppose the Cubs on March 31 in PNC Park.
Winding up his spring of redemption, Rodriguez went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs. The lefty drove in three himself, two on a second-inning homer.
Rebounding after missing the final four months of the 2013 season with arthritis in his forearm, Rodriguez allowed four earned runs in 11 2/3 innings in his four Grapefruit League starts and displayed sharp command, issuing five walks while striking out nine.
Left-hander J.A. Happ had another rough start for Toronto, being rocked for 12 hits in three-plus innings. Despite being charged with seven runs, his spring ERA rose only slightly, from 20.25 to 20.57.
"Results wise, it certainly wasn't a great but I think it definitely could have been quite a bit different," Happ said. "Take the positives of throwing strikes and 75 pitches, but of course, I'd like for things to go a little bit different."
Rodriguez got a ball up into a stiff left-to-right wind for the home run -- something he has never done in 437 at-bats during the regular season.
Up next: R.A. Dickey will make his final start of the spring when the Blue Jays host the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Wednesday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Dickey has thrown 100 pitches in each of his past two outings, but is expected to dial things back during his final start in an attempt to provide a little bit of rest before Opening Day. Aaron Loup, Steve Delabar and Jeremy Jeffress also are expected to pitch for the Blue Jays. The game can be seen live on MLB.TV or fans can listen to an exclusive webcast on Blue Jays.com.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.