Jays scuttle Pirates

Sixty pitches in three innings were just right for Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Especially since he finished with six strikeouts.

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Jonathan Diaz

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Jonathan Diaz

Blue Jays 4 Pirates 1

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Sixty pitches in three innings were just right for Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Especially since he finished with six strikeouts.

Cecil fanned the first four batters he faced and gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings before leaving with a 1-0 lead. Three innings later, the Pirates jumped on Scott Richmond for two runs and beat the Blue Jays 4-1.

“The way I see it, (60 pitches) is just a glimpse of the future of how (manager John Farrell) is going to let us pitchers go deeper into the game,” Cecil said. “Even though we got a little bit of a high pitch count, I’m extremely happy.

“I’d like to be a pitch-to-contact pitcher. That’s what we all try to do, pitch to contact and get outs as quick as we can. I’m more on the line of 15, 16 pitches an inning and that’s going to obviously run the pitch count up a little bit.”

Farrell was pleased that Cecil was able to throw a cutter to both sides of the plate “and his change-up, which I know was a big weapon for him a year ago, he’s establishing that again here in the early going.”

Pittsburgh’s Brad Lincoln had one strikeout in three perfect innings, taking over in the fourth for Pirates starter Charlie Morton.

Toronto scored in the first inning on a leadoff double by Rajai Davis and a single by Jose Bautista, back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s game with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle.

The Pirates rallied in the sixth, starting with Jason Jaramillo’s pop-up that fell in for an infield double. One walk and two outs later, Pedro Alvarez had a two-run triple down the right-field line.

They scored again in the seventh on Dusty Brown’s RBI pinch single and a run in the ninth on a single by Josh Rodriguez.