April 8, 2007
Jays sting Rays
By MIKE RUTSEY, SUN MEDIA
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Frank Thomas notched his first one last night.
Tomo Ohka will have to wait another five days.
It was a case of good news, bad news for a couple of Blue Jay newcomers last night as both played major roles in Toronto's 8-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
The news for Thomas, the Jays' gigantic designated hitter, was all positive as he drilled his first home run, a grand slam, for his new team and he did it in style as he bombed a grand slam in the second inning.
Ohka, meanwhile, didn't have his good stuff. Even though he was handed a 7-1 lead, he wasn't able to convert it into a win as he was pulled out of the game with two on and one out in the fifth.
From that point on the bullpen was aces, especially Shaun Marcum, who retired all seven batters he faced. Marcum, one of four relievers to see action, got the win while B.J. Ryan, who blew the save Friday, had a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the season.
"It was one of those games where we had a nice comfortable lead, it got away and the bullpen stepped up," Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Ohka, he added, could be forgiven.
"He really didn't have it tonight," Gibbons said. "He's a control guy and I think a lot of it had to do with having eight days off (between outings) and that really affects control pitchers."
Marcum came into the game with the bases loaded just like he did in the second game in Detroit. That day he gave up a grand slam.
This day he was perfect.
"He can pitch," Gibbons said of Marcum, "and then (Jason) Frasor sucked it up and did a nice job again."
For Frasor it was his fourth appearance in as many games this season. After the first two batters reached in the eighth on a single and walk, he retired the next three, striking out two.
Thomas, meanwhile, delivered in a big way in the second inning.
It was one for the books, a seismic grand slam jolt to left in the second inning against the Devil Rays left-hander Casey Fossum.
"I wasn't trying to hit one," Thomas said of his homer. "I was just trying to drive the run in and good things happen when you go about your business the right way.
"We needed it. After that loss last night we were really frustrated and wanted to come out and put some runs up early."
B At the plate: Frank Thomas had a big game with his slam. Reed Johnson contributed with three hits, was hit by a pitch and stole a base.
D Starter: It's pretty sad when up 7-1 you can't last five innings and that's what happened to Tomo Ohka.
B+ Bullpen: Four relievers combined to blank the Rays over the final 42/3 innings.