DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — After the Toronto Blue Jays pounded Derek Lowe for four early runs Saturday, the Atlanta right-hander will be very happy if he never has to pitch another interleague game.
"American League teams, we all know, feast on fastballs," Lowe said after the Blue Jays chewed him up for four fourth-inning runs en route to a 7-6 victory in 10 innings. "When you make mistakes you're going to get hurt and when you make your pitches you get 'em out. Today was a classic example of that.
"You have to be able to locate, especially with your fastball, or you're going to be in a world of hurt."
In interleague play last season, Lowe's first with the Braves, Baltimore jumped him for seven runs in 2 1-3 innings and the New York Yankees tagged him for eight runs in three innings.
"Those were just bad pitching altogether," he said with a laugh. "That wasn't even one good inning. That was just beatings."
Lowe had three good innings against the Blue Jays, facing the minimum nine batters and holding a 4-0 lead before Jose Bautista doubled, Aaron Hill homered to left and Adam Lind, Vernon Wells and Randy Ruiz doubled for two more runs.
"All in all, it wasn't the greatest game in the world," he said of his 75-pitch outing, "but if that's a game during the season, you're still out there. You still have a chance to go deep in the game. It was important to have a good fifth inning (three up, three down). You never want to leave after you've given up four runs."
The Braves went ahead 5-4 in the eighth on Joe Thurston's RBI single, Toronto tied it in the ninth on Joe McDonald's single, Atlanta went ahead in the top of the 10th on another Thurston single, then Jon Huber gave up singles to Ryan Schimpf and Joey Gathright, and Mike McDade brought them home with a double to left.
Marc Rzepczynski, projected as Toronto's fourth or fifth starter, gave up three runs in the second inning, two on Brandon Hicks' single, and a run in the fourth on Yunel Escobar's double and Omar Infante's single.
"It was a building day for me just because I was finally believing in my sinker," Rzepczynski said. "It's the best it was so far all spring. A couple of bad pitches but overall I think it was definitely a building process."
NOTES: The Blue Jays reassigned LHPs Rommie Lewis and Willie Collazo, RHP Steven Register and IF Jorge Padilla, four non-roster players, to minor-league camp. ... Toronto manager Cito Gaston said he expects to have his opening-day roster set when the Blue Jays face Houston in their two final exhibition games April 2-3. "No sense dragging people down there that's not going to be on the club," Gaston said. ... RHP Shaun Marcum will start Sunday for the host Blue Jays against Boston LHP Felix Doumont. ... Sunday, the Braves host St. Louis, starting RHP Jair Jurrjens against the Cardinals' RHP Brad Penny.