Johnny Mac blasts Jays to win against RaysHits 11th inning homerun
By BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency
|Toronto Blue Jays' Travis Snider swings against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)
Jose Bautista drove the ball deep, he drove it shallow; he drove the Tampa Bay Rays to distraction Friday.
But it was the until-recently, light-hitting John McDonald, who hit them with the ultimate knockout punch.
Bautista fell just a single short of hitting for the cycle; then watched McDonald crush a two-run homer in the 11th to give the Jays a 6-4 win.
Toronto had to come from behind three times, but then that's become a team trademark. McDonald came to the plate with one out after Juan Rivera's single and sent a rainbow towards the Toronto bullpen.
"He's kryptonite to us," Rays' manager Joe Maddon said. "He's always hurt us." Often that hurt comes because of McDonald's defence. But this year he's hitting .300 and he even had time to trot towards first base and admire this, his first-ever career walk-off homer.
"I was trying to talk to the ball a bit to go farther. That doesn't normally work for me," he said , as a teammate quietly chanted "John! John! John!" from the other side of the dressing room. "In a situation like that we had a runner ahead of me so it wasn't that imperative I get to third so I kind of watched it a bit."
McDonald wasn't even in the starting lineup but came in when Jayson Nix hurt his knee.
Toronto now has nine wins -- seven of them in come-from-behind fashion. They wiped out leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2. Much of that was thanks to Bautista who scored the first four runs, including the run in the eighth that forced extras.
That's when he stepped in against Joel Peralta needing just a single for the cycle. He walked on four pitches. "He understands pitchers don't want to throw to him sometimes and he's more than willing to pass it on to the next guy," said manager John Farrell.
Bautista (with a team-high 16 walks) had good karma working all night. When Adam Lind hit a double play ball to first baseman Dan Johnson after Bautista's eighth-inning walk, the relay to second hit Bautista in the back, keeping the rally alive. He survived a pickoff that even he acknowledged was too close for comfort. An Edwin Encarnacion double tied it 4-4. Kismit is a Jays' fan. Who knew?
Twice the Jays' right fielder was in the middle of scoring plays with dying quail liners that left diving outfielders grasping at air as the ball rolled away for a double and triple. Both times he'd score. Bautista also hit his fifth homer. That cut Tampa's lead to 4-3.
He drew a second walk in the 10th. No cycle. No worries. "I was more concerned about getting the win," said Bautista. "Just getting on base. It took us a while to get that run but it was nice to see Johnny Mac hit that ball."
ON THE RUN AGAIN
Rajai Davis may or may not return to his leadoff spot when he returns from his rehabilitation assignment with New Hampshire (AA), which started Friday night. Farrell said Yunel Escobar's solid job in his absence gives the club "options." Davis is eligible to come off the disabled list next week. Toronto sent him to New Hampshire instead of Dunedin (single-A) so he could face better pitching. "We want him to come back feeling good physically, but also having faced some good pitching (and) feeling good about his approach to the plate and his timing."
DRESSED TO KILL?
Sean Pierson and Mark Hominick showed up in the old, baby-blue, Jays' uniforms last night to throw out the first pitch. When you're a UFC fighter it is possible to wear something like that and not have anyone in the seats behind you shoot spit-balls or call you "Suzy." Or something ... One up, one down! Toronto called up infielder Chris Woodward who joined the team prior to the game. Just in time. Sean Rodriguez' slide took out second baseman Jayson Nix' leg as he tried to turn a double play in the second inning. Nix limped from the field. "I didn't see it ... Jayson said it was just a good, hard slide and I'll believe him," said McDonald, who replaced Nix. Rodriguez was later hit by a pitch from Reyes -- purely coincidental, of course ... Speaking of Reyes, he had his best outing of the season but still couldn't get in the win column. He is 0-2 in four starts and hasn't won a major-league game since June of 2008. But, when it was done, nobody would have known it from the grin on his face. He struck out six, scattering six hits in seven innings.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HI!
Brad Emaus' major-league career lasted all of 14 games before finding himself back in the Jays' minor-league system Thursday. Friday, he moved again. Emaus was dealt from the Jays' Las Vegas affiliate to the Colorado Rockies for minor-league pitcher Chris Malone.
Emaus won the second-base job with the Mets this spring after being selected from the Jays in the Rule V draft. But he hit just .162 in 37 at-bats and New York decided to go with Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner. That meant he had to be offered back to Toronto.
In Malone, the Jays get a 27-year-old pitcher who has drifted between double-A and triple-A. Emaus is expected to be sent to Colorado Springs but could get another shot with the Rockies if they eventually trade Jose Lopez ... Boo Who? Reyes threw to first base eight times in the second inning to hold a runner. And got a scattering of boos. By his own fans. Go figure. No wonder people think this is a Leafs' city.