|Toronto Blue Jays centre fielder Vernon Wells celebrates with teammate Reed Johnson after Wells went deep against the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre Sunday. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)
In looking to make a statement in their four-game series against the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays saved the best for last.
How about a good old fashioned butt-kicking?
After losing Saturday's game because of a balk and a bases-loaded walk, the Jays offence decided to take no chances yesterday, revving it up a notch or two.
The Jays launched five home runs, including two by Vernon Wells, in their 15-hit attack to bury New York 13-5 and win the series 3-1.
"We just came out firing (yesterday)," Jays manager John Gibbons said of their barrage. "It was a good series.
"We had to play a good series, simply where we were in the standings. Playing a team ahead of us in our division, you've got to play good or you disappear and we did just that."
The other home run hitters for the Jays were Eric Hinske, with his first three-run homer of the season, Reed Johnson and Troy Glaus. Johnson and Wells had four RBIs each.
"I think it's great for this team's attitude just because of the way the Yankees have handled us in the past," Johnson said of winning three of four. "It feels good to come out with a series victory, especially in a four-game series. But we've got a lot to do and they'll be itching to play us again when we come into New York. We've got our work cut out for us."
Still, it marked a perfect way to end their 10-game homestand where they went 6-4. The Jays now hit the road for a 10-game trip.
The win for starter Shaun Marcum was the first of his major-league career, coming in his second start.
A key to the victory, Johnson said, was the fact they came up big with men on base.
"We did a good job of tacking on runs and that's how you've got to play those guys," he said. "The home runs with runners on base are huge. Instead of putting up one or two it's three and four and to be able to drive those runs in in scoring position and hit home runs with runners on base is definitely the key."
General manager J.P. Ricciardi has been fond of saying that perhaps the club's best baseball lay ahead. Maybe this series was that start.
"I hope that's the case, we've got to win later in the year, put some wins together in August and September and give ourselves a chance toward the end of the year," said Wells, who went 3-for-4.
The only disappointment on the day was the debut of right-hander Jeremy Accardo, who was obtained from the Giants in a trade Friday that sent Shea Hillenbrand and Vinnie Chulk to San Francisco.
Accardo came on in relief of Marcum in the sixth and gave up two runs on four hits in two thirds of an inning. With two on and two out, he was relieved by Scott Schoeneweis who retired the dangerous Jason Giambi on a fly to centre.
He admitted he was over-amped.
"It's just like the first time you get called up," he said. "You're not really thinking about your mechanics and what you want to do. But I got it out of the way, the jitters are gone and I can get back to business."