A lot of what has been missing from the Blue Jays' play made a return last night, but not all of it was their own doing.
With an assist to Tampa reliever Joe Borowski and some long overdue, good-old fashioned luck, not to mention a home run for a change, the Jays managed to edge the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-3 last night.
The turning point came in the bottom of the eighth inning with two out, the game tied 3-3, Shea Hillenbrand on third and catcher Gregg Zaun at the plate trying to figure out what exactly his one-time roommate Borowski was throwing him.
Zaun, who knows the Tampa Bay reliever after rooming with him when they were in the Baltimore organization, was thrown off by what he thinks was a screwball that Borowski had added to his repertoire.
"I've known Joe for a long time ... and I've never seen him throw a screwball and he threw me like five or six," Zaun said. "I was just, 'What is that?' Normally he's just a really good sinker and a fantastic slider. All of a sudden now he's throwing a screwball."
The confusion -- Borowski was calling the pitch a splitter -- led to Zaun trying to call time, a request home plate umpire Larry Vanover opted not to recognize.
Zaun alertly regripped the bat with both hands just as Borowski unleashed a wild pitch allowing Hillenbrand to trot home with what turned out to be the winning run.
"It was the break we needed, put it that way," an appreciative Jays manager John Gibbons said of the wild pitch.
Borowski entered the game in the eighth protecting a 3-2 lead for Devil Rays starter and former Blue Jay Mark Hendrickson.
A pair of back-to-back singles and a misplayed sacrifice bunt attempt in which Borowski ill-advisedly looked to get the lead runner and then turned too late to first to get the hitter.
Corey Koskie brought home the tying run when he grounded into a double play bringing Zaun to the plate.
"We really needed that win, especially coming from behind like that," Zaun said.
Pete Walker and Scott Schoeneweis, who would get credit for the win, played a huge role picking up Scott Downs in what looked to be a tough spot for the Jays in the top of the eighth.
Already trailing 3-2, Downs gave way to Walker with none out and runners on the corners. Walker got Jorge Cantu swinging for the first out and then induced a flare to shallow left off the bat of speedster Joey Gathright for the second out leaving no chance for the runner from third to advance.
Schoeneweis came on for the left-handed hitting Aubrey Huff and got him to ground out to first to end the inning.
"Those guys have been doing that all year," Gibbons said of his relievers.
Downs wasn't around for the comeback in the latter innings, but he pitched in with another fine effort going seven strong and allowing three runs, all of them on a Jorge Cantu homer in the third inning.
Downs and the rest of the staff should learn today who is coming out of the rotation with Ted Lilly expected back form the injured list on Tuesday.