Morrow flashes ace qualities against Yanks

Morrow flashes ace qualities against Yanks

Morrow flashes ace qualities against Yanks
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett surrendered at least one run in each of his first three innings en route to a 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Burnett's struggles began in the first after he allowed an RBI single to Jose Bautista. The Blue Jays slugger would eventually come around to score on a line drive off the bat of right fielder Juan Rivera. The liner struck Burnett on his backside but after a visit to the mound he remained in the game.

One inning later, Burnett's former catcher Jose Molina led off with a solo home run to deep left field. It was Molina's first homer and second RBI of the Grapefruit League season. Burnett was pulled after the fourth having surrendered four runs -- two earned -- on five hits and five strikeouts. He threw 48 of his 74 pitches for strikes.

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Toronto right-hander Brandon Morrow cruised through his five innings. He allowed just three hits while striking out six. He struggled with his control at times, issuing three walks, while throwing 27 or his 66 pitches for balls.

"I thought he threw the ball really well today," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Morrow. "Maybe he wasn't quite as powerful as last time out, but very good assortment of pitches. He used his changeup at a good time to slow some lefties down. ... I thought he threw the ball exceptionally well yet again."

New York had the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning against Blue Jays left-hander Marc Rzepczynski but managed to score just one run. Jorge Posada recorded an RBI on a fielder's choice before first baseman Eric Chavez hit into an inning-ending double play.

Blue Jays infielder Mike McCoy added a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning off right-hander Sergio Mitre.

A ninth-inning rally for the Bombers fizzled when Melky Mesa, who had swiped second while pinch-running for Jorge Vazquez after a walk, got picked off by reliever Wil Ledezma with one out.

Up next for the Yankees and Blue Jays: New York and Toronto get right back at it on Saturday, with the rematch set for 1:05 p.m. ET in Tampa, Fla. at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The game can be watched live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Freddy Garcia continues his bid for a rotation slot as he draws the starting nod, Closer Mariano Rivera is also scheduled to pitch a rare Spring Training inning for New York, and Alex Rodriguez will have the chance to homer for a fourth consecutive game.

Left-hander Brett Cecil will start for Toronto. He's 0-1 and has allowed three earned runs in nine innings during the Grapefruit League season. Right-handers Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva also are scheduled to pitch for the Blue Jays.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.