Over 46,000 fans in Montreal watch Reds beat Blue Jays
MONTREAL (AP) A crowd of 46,314 at Olympic Stadium watched Jason Marquis and the Cincinnati Reds blank the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 Friday night.
For the second year in a row, fans flooded into the Big O for exhibition baseball and a party atmosphere. Many wore tri-color Expos hats, hoping to convince Major League Baseball that Montreal is ready to get a team back after losing the club after the 2004 season.
The Blue Jays and Reds meet again on Saturday afternoon.
Marquis pitched one-hit ball for five innings, striking out three without a walk. Marquis and outfielder Marlon Byrd are the only current Reds to have played against the Expos in Montreal.
Toronto starter Mark Buehrle threw four shutout innings, giving up three hits without a walk.
Skip Schumaker hit a two-run double in the eighth.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who grew up in Montreal, got a standing ovation when he batted in the first inning. He teared up as his father, musician Russell Martin Sr., played the national anthems on a saxophone.
Martin said he took the subway to the stadium, the same way he used to go to games with his dad.
''Traveling here by metro brought back memories,'' Martin said before the game. ''Walking down the hallway, seeing where the old team store was and the place you get your tickets.''
''Just the building itself. It's surreal. I remember being 12 years old and being a fan and here I am wearing a big league uniform and playing in front of family and friends,'' he said.
Martin went 0 for 3 before being replaced at the start of the eighth by Dioner Navarro.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, a Toronto native, went 0 for 2. He made his major league debut in 2007 and never played at Olympic Stadium with Cincinnati. He once played at the ballpark as an amateur.
''The older players that played here had good things to say about the city,'' Votto said. ''For a lot of them, it was their favorite stop.''
Votto grew up as a Blue Jays fan, but he'd like to see the major leagues return to Montreal.
''You get excited about a city when you can feel the energy,'' he said. ''The next two games will be an example of that, but I'm not sure how complicated it is to bring a team here.''
Former Expos stars Vladimir Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera got a huge ovation in a pregame ceremony.