Jays blank Reds in spring finale
Towers throws six strong frames to send club north in style
BLUE JAYS 1, REDS 0
at Dunedin, Fla.
Saturday, March 31
Blue Jays at the plate: Reed Johnson doubled in his first at-bat to extend his spring hit streak to 13 games. Frank Thomas hit a single in the fourth inning off Reds righty Tom Shearn and then was pinch-run for by John Ford-Griffin, who stole second and then scored on a single by Alex Rios.
Reds at the plate: First baseman Joey Votto went 2-for-3 with two singles, and four other players had one hit apiece.
Blue Jays on the mound: Josh Towers, who was named as the No. 5 starter before the game, tossed six scoreless innings. The 30-year-old right-hander gave up four hits and one walk, all coming in the first three innings, and finished his outing with five strikeouts. Towers, who tossed 77 pitches, 54 strikes, retired 15 of his last 16 batters.
Reds on the mound: Bobby Livingston, who will begin the season with the Reds Triple-A affiliate, Louisville Bats, pitched three scoreless innings and allowed three hits with one walk while striking out two.
Grapefruit League records: Blue Jays 12-14; Reds 18-10.
Coming up: The Jays travel to Detroit to open their 31st season of play when they play the Tigers in a 1:05 p.m. ET affair on Monday at Comerica Park. Right-hander Roy Halladay (16-5, 3.19 ERA in 2006) makes his club-record fifth Opening Day start and goes up against Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman (14-8, 4.08 ERA in '06). Halladay, who did not face Detroit last year, is 10-2 with a 1.85 ERA lifetime against the Tigers. Bonderman went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA versus the Blue Jays last year to improve his career numbers against Toronto to 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA.
The Reds will play host to the Cubs on Monday afternoon at 2:10 ET at Great American Ball Park. Aaron Harang (16-11, 3.76 ERA in '06), who is making his second consecutive Opening Day start, will be matched up against Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano (16-7, 3.41 ERA in '06). The Cubs downed the Reds, 16-7, last season on Opening Day.
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.