- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

MONTREAL (AP) - Melky Cabrera’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday and a sweep of their two-game exhibition series at an Olympic Stadium packed with former Montreal Expos fans.

Moises Sierra was on third with two outs when Cabrera connected off left-hander Adam Kolarek.

Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow pitched six sharp innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight in the spring training finale for both teams in front of 50,229. Aaron Sanchez pitched two innings for the win.

“It was a lot of fun,” Morrow said. “Both games were really exciting.”

Mets right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka also struck out eight and gave up five hits in five scoreless innings, but was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas after the game - making Jenrry Mejia the team’s No. 5 starter.

Toronto also beat the Mets 5-4 before a crowd of 46,121 on Friday night. The games were organized in an effort to show that Montreal wants Major League Baseball back. A total of 96,350 fans attended the two games, mostly chanting “Let’s go Expos!” and “We want baseball!”

“The crowd was into it the whole time,” Morrow said. “They did a good job of putting on these games.”

Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson agreed, adding that the fans were enthusiastic.

“It was amazing to see all the different jerseys out there,” he said. “That means baseball is alive and well in Montreal. People were looking forward, and they enjoyed these two games here. It was great. It was cool to see and to get a chance to be a part of.”

The event was organized by concert promoter Evenko and the Montreal Baseball Project, headed by former Expos outfielder Warren Cromartie.

John McHale Jr., an MLB vice president whose father was the Expos‘ original president, was impressed with the turnout. Montreal saw its team move to Washington in 2004 largely due to lack of fans.

“This market had likely lost the intense enthusiasm it once had for Major League Baseball, so I think this requires us to recalibrate our estimation of how popular our sport might be,” McHale said, adding that he had met with Cromartie.

“They’re in an unpredictable process with no certainty of success,” he said.

The 1994 Expos were honored during a pregame ceremony, honoring the team that led baseball with a 74-40 record only to see the regular season and playoffs wiped out in August by a players strike.


Story Continues →