Raines among former Expos honoured at Olympic Stadium as Jays and Pirates battle to draw
Montreal's Olympic stadium was packed with tens of thousands of baseball fans Friday night in the first of pre-season games pitting the Toronto Blue Jays against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But it was former Expos great Tim Raines who stole the show, receiving a long, thunderous ovation when he was introduced in the pre-game ceremony.
Raines was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, and Expos fans couldn’t be more thrilled. Many still spoke of hopes the team would return to the city, music to Mayor Denis Coderre’s ears.
“I'm thrilled,” he said. “Let’s go Blue Jays, but at the same time, we're sending a strong message about the love of baseball, that Montreal is also a baseball town.”
The Blue Jays and Pittsbugh Pirates played to a nine-inning 1-1 draw, with Darwin Barney scoring Toronto's only run after a third-inning triple at Olympic Stadium on Friday night.
The Pirates outhit the Blue Jays 9-5. The two teams meet again on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Jays got on the board in the third as Barney led off with a triple off starter Jameson Taillon and scored on Kevin Pillar's groundout.
The Pirates tied it in the fifth off Joe Biagini when Jordy Mercer's two-out single was followed by a triple off the right field wall by Adam Frazier, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into an inside the park home run. Frazier has reached base in 13 of his last 14 games.
Neither side mustered much of a threat from then on.
Jays starter Marcus Stroman allowed five hits and no runs in four innings, but he had a nervy third when Josh Harrison singled but then was caught stealing. Mercer and Frazier followed with singles but Starling Marte flied out to end the threat.
With files from CTV Montreal