Blue Jays beat Reds, 4-1

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Associated Press

DUNEDIN, Fla. - Josh Towers pitched five solid innings and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Sunday.

Towers had the longest outing of the spring for a Toronto starter, allowing one run and five hits while striking out two. He threw 42 of his 65 pitches for strikes and only three of his outs came on flyballs.

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''He pitched a good game,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''He moved the ball around and threw a lot of strikes and made them put the ball in play.''

After leaving the game, Towers threw an additional 20 pitches in the bullpen.

Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang allowed two runs and three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter.

''I was happy with my pitches overall,'' Harang said. ''I made a few mistakes but hit my spots. I wish the season started tomorrow.''

Harang's only rough inning came in the fifth. After retiring eight straight batters, he gave up back-to-back solo homers to Frank Menechino and Alex Rios.

Before the game, manager Dave Miley said he was looking for Harang to fill the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation.

Shea Hillenbrand had two hits for Toronto. Sean Casey had the lone RBI for Cincinnati.

Toronto pitchers retired 19 of their final 20 batters. Miguel Batista worked a perfect ninth for the save.

Notes: Ken Griffey Jr. stayed back in Sarasota to take extra batting practice. He is scheduled to play seven innings in center field on Monday and Tuesday. In seven games this spring, six as the DH, Griffey is hitting .421 with three RBIs. … Blue Jays 3B Corey Koskie (strained groin) took batting practice with the team but went to the minor league complex to be the DH in a game there.