DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - Brandon Morrow took a liner off his right shoulder in the second inning.
Luckily for the Toronto Blue Jays, it looked a lot worse than it was.
Morrow shook off the comebacker and pitched four innings to help the Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 on Sunday.
``I flinched and blocked it,' Morrow said of Tim Beckham's hard-hit ball. ``It hit more of my finger (sticking out of his glove), so that's sore, but I went out the next inning.'
Morrow threw to first to retire Beckham and end the inning. Manager John Farrell thought about pulling the right-hander at that point but ``I said I was alright,' Morrow said, grinning.
Still, the Blue Jays cut short his outing by one inning. He allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits, struck out six and walked none.
``In a way we dodged a bullet,' Farrell said, ``and it factored into our decision. He was at (65) pitches after four. We had him throw his fifth inning in the bullpen for that reason.
``He came out fine. If there'd been any sign of tightness he'd have been out immediately.'
Jose Bautista and Eric Thames homered for Toronto, which finished with 15 hits. Thames drove in three runs and Bautista and Yunel Escobar had two RBIs apiece.
Bautista hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and his second spring homer in the third. Escobar had a two-run double in the second.
Bautista, who led the majors with 54 homers last season, hit a first-pitch fastball from Cory Wade over the wall in left.
``I knew I hit it well enough and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't know it was a home run,' Bautista said. ``It's happened before. ... It doesn't happen every day but when you do it, it feels very good.'
Tampa Bay's Johnny Damon singled and scored on Dan Johnson's grounder in the first. B.J. Upton doubled and scored in the fourth.
NOTES: Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria was scratched due to cramps resulting from dehydration. ... The Blue Jays returned pitchers Robert Ray, Josh Roenicke and Luis Perez, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, outfielder Moises Sierra and catcher Brian Jeroloman to their minor league camp. ... Toronto is off Monday and will start Jesse Litsch on Tuesday against Philadelphia. ... Tampa Bay starts Andy Sonnanstine on Monday against Florida.
The Associated Press News Service
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