TORONTO - Itís the month when one win is as good as two in April ... at least thatís what former Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams used to argue.
Itís the only month of the year, aside from spring training, when teams have unlimited resources on the bench.
And itís the month when teams think: ďNow if weíd just won that game, our lead would have been ...Ē
That team would be the New York Yankees, weekend visitors to the Rogers Centre, after losing 2-1 in 12 innings to the vaunted Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, the same day the Blue Jays edged the Boston Red Sox 5-4 at Fenway Park.
A win in extras would have given the Yanks a five-game lead in the AL East standings.
Instead, as the Yanks tried to score and give Mariano Rivera an opportunity for a record-tying 601st save, they were held hitless for the final three innings by Tom Wilhelmsen and Steve Delabar.
Not exactly Duane Ward/Tom Henke or a Rivera/John Wetteland combo.
Wilhelmsen, a former bartender, pitched the 10th and 11th, Delabar, a substitute teacher, hit a batter but retired the side in the 12th in his second game. Delabar picked up his first victory on a walk-off homer by Luis Rodriguez.
Wilhelmsen was a prospect with the Milwaukee Brewers, impressing at class-A Beloit in 2003. He twice tested positive for marijuana, was suspended for 2004, didnít pitch again until 2009 with the Tucson Toros of the independent Golden League, when the Mariners signed him.
Delabar was an assistant coach in Elizabethtown, Ky. after pitching indy ball for Brockton in the Can-Am League. In April when he took a velocity improvement program intended for his players, Seattle signed him and sent him to class-A High Desert, then double-A Jackson and triple-A Tacoma
How can the best franchise in pro sports lose to an ex-bartender and a ex-substitute teacher?
That question would have been asked ó yelled, maybe ó if the late George Steinbrenner was still alive.
Heck, Steinbrenner in his prime likely would have filed a complaint with the commissionerís office over the lineup the Jays ran out Tuesday against the Red Sox.
Former Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell started a lineup against the Sox of Mike McCoy, Eric Thames, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, David Cooper, Brett Lawrie, J.P. Arencibia, Adam Loewen and Chris Woodward, giving Adam Lind and Kelly Johnson the night off.
Alex Rodriguez, who injured his thumb in his first game back from knee surgery on Aug. 21, and has not played since Sept. 9 at Anaheim, will be in the lineup for the Yankees on Friday.
On the coast, Rodriguez descibed the season as frustrating, with injuries limiting to 90 games this season, 10 since the all-star break.
Heís hitting .194 with two homers and four RBIs since the break.