West Point grad Rowley wins ML debut, Jays beat Pirates 7-2
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TORONTO — Chris Rowley pitched 5 1/3 innings to win his major league debut, Jose Bautista scored two runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Saturday.
A former first lieutenant in the United States Army, and the first graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY, to reach the majors, Rowley (1-0) missed all of the 2014 and 2015 minor league seasons while on active service, including a stint in Bulgaria.
The right-hander, who began the season at Double-A, allowed one run five hits. He walked one and struck out three.The only run off Rowley came in the second when Josh Bell hit a leadoff triple and scored on a two-out hit by Jordy Mercer.
Mercer added a solo homer off Leonel Campos in the ninth.
Rowley left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 46,179 after giving up a one-out single and a walk in the sixth. Dominic Leone came on and retired the next two batters.
One day after star outfielder Andrew McCutchen limped off with a sore left knee, the Pirates lost another outfielder Saturday when Gregory Polanco pulled up with a sore left hamstring while chasing Josh Donaldson's bloop single in the fifth. Sean Rodriguez came into the game in left field and John Jaso moved from left to right.
Bautista walked and scored on Steve Pearece's RBI grounder in the first. After Bell replied for Pittsburgh, Donaldson restored Toronto's lead with a bases-loaded walk in the second.
After missing the previous two games with an illness, Kendrys Morales pinch hit for Raffy Lopez after the Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Morales hit an RBI grounder to short and a second run scored when second baseman Adam Frazier's relay throw on an attempted double play got away from Bell at first.
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (5-5) allowed four runs, three earned, in six innings.
Toronto scored three times against Joaquin Benoit in the seventh, with two runs scoring on Josh Harrison's throwing error and a third on Kevin Pillar's sacrifice fly.
Pirates: McCutchen (left knee) did not play. He is day-to-day.
Blue Jays: Toronto put C Russell Martin (strained left oblique) on the 10-day DL and selected C Mike Ohlman from Triple-A Buffalo. To make room on the 40-man roster for Ohlman and Rowley RHP Chris Smith and OF Chris Coghlan were designated for assignment. ... Manager John Gibbons said RHP Aaron Sanchez (blister) could return in a relief role rather than rejoining the rotation once his finger heals.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (5-7, 4.53) is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA over his past eight starts. He has never faced Toronto.
Blue Jays: After going winless in his final four July starts, LHP J.A. Happ (5-8, 3.77) is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two August outings.
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