DUNEDIN, Fla. — Toronto manager John Farrell likes Kyle Drabek’s ability to “reach back and get a strikeout when he needs it.”
Drabek struck out five and allowed five hits over five innings against Boston on Monday in a matchup of sons of former All-Stars. He left with a one-run lead before Jeremy Hazelbaker’s two-run homer in the seventh gave the Red Sox a 3-2 victory in a game shortened to 7½ innings by rain.
“He had good power. He had good action to his stuff despite a couple of fastballs up in the zone,” Farrell said of Drabek, who has given up five runs and 18 hits with 14 striketouts and two walks in 16 innings spanning four spring starts.
“I think the one thing we’re seeing, even when he’s not as sharp with his overall command, he’s still been efficient, whether it’s been in an ‘A’ game or other outings we’ve seen in spring training. He’s making very good strides to start on Saturday (against Minnesota) and beyond.”
Drabek is the son of 1990 NL Cy Young winner Doug Drabek.
Tony Pena Jr., son of the former major league catcher and current Yankees bench coach, started for Boston in place of John Lackey, who remained in Fort Myers because of the threat of rain. Pena gave up one run and two doubles to Aaron Hill over three innings.
Hill, who made his spring debut last Tuesday after recovering from strained right thigh muslce, hit a double to left field in the third to drive in Adam Lind, who had singled. Hill then doubled to left in the fourth and scored on Juan Rivera’s looping single over second base. In his past two games Hill has gone 5 for 6 with three doubles and is batting .471.
“His swing is direct, it’s compact, he’s getting pitches on the plate and in the zone that he’s getting good swings on,” Farrell said. “With the conditions today, we just got everybody out of there after two at bats. (Hill) was scheduled to go more and he could have gone more.”
The Red Sox scored in the third on Peter Hissey’s single, Christian Vazquez’s double to right and Mike Cameron’s single to deep shortstop. Hazelbaker’s one-out home run to right on the first pitch to him by Carlos Villanueva followed Nate Spears’ infield single.
“He’s getting stronger,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Hazelbaker, a rookie right fielder. “To see that swing, I’ll take that bus ride any day. That ball came off his bat good.”
Play was stopped for 21 minutes after the fifth inning, and the game was called after the Red Sox batted in the top of the eighth.
NOTES: With Vic Carapazza out due to back spasms, a three-man umpiring crew worked the game. … It was Toronto’s final spring home game. … Brett Cecil is scheduled to start Tuesday for the Blue Jays against Baltimore’s Jake Arrieta in Sarasota, Fla. … Boston’s Clay Buchholz will start against Tampa Bay’s Wade Davis Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla.