Jays 'hungered' for the win
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays batter Corey Patterson hits a walk off home run in the 14th inning to beat the White Sox in Toronto, Ont., May 28, 2011. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
TORONTO - There is usually a lot of noble and inspirational motivation that comes before heroics.
At times, more basic factors are involved.
“I was getting tired, everybody was getting hungry, the food (in the clubhouse) was getting cold, so ...” Corey Patterson said long after he ended Saturday’s 14-inning game against the White Sox by leading off the bottom of the inning with a home run to right that powered the Blue Jays to a 9-8 victory.
The home run off of Gavin Floyd, a Chicago starter who was pressed into relief duties, capped a terrific day at the plate for Patterson, who went 5-for-7 with a career-high four runs scored in his first game of the season as the Jays DH.
It was the fourth career walkoff home run of Patterson’s career and his third five-hit game, but in the Jays clubhouse he was eager to share the glory.
“In my opinion there were a lot of heroes today,” Patterson said. “Jose Bautista hit a home run (a three-run shot in the first), in my fourth at bat (the seventh inning) Jose Molina was on first with two outs and he did a good job of getting together with the coaching staff and by starting a steal I was able to squeak a ball by the second baseman and keep the rally going. Then Juan (Rivera) had a big hit (a three-run double) and Luis Perez did an excellent job (pitching the final 3 2/3 innings) and I was able to get the hit at the end. So it was a great team effort, a lot of heroes today.”
Perez’ effort was exemplary. The lefty entered the game in the 11th with one out and runners on the corners and got the Jays off the hook. Over the final three innings, he allowed just two singles and thanks to Patterson was rewarded with his first big-league win. Of the 38 pitches he threw, 32 were strikes.
“I feel great,” Perez said in Spanish with coach Luis Rivera acting as his interpreter. ”Everybody on the club put a little piece on it and today I added my little piece. He knew we were short in the bullpen and he was trying to stretch it as much as he could.”
Up until Patterson’s extra-inning heroics, and those of Perez, the man of the match for the Jays was Rivera.
Clutch hits have not been his trademark this season but in the seventh inning he had a big one, a three-run double that ended a 10-pitch at-bat and shot the Jays into an 8-6 lead.
But it proved to be a lead they couldn’t hold as the White Sox scored in the eighth on a passed ball charged against Molina while in the ninth, Frank Francisco allowed two hits and a run to blow the lead.
It was the second consecutive blown save for Francisco following on the heels of his blown save against he Yankees last Tuesday, which marked his last appearance.
With one out, he allowed an opposite-field shot by Alexei Ramirez just inside the bag at first and with two out, a game-tying blooper by Paul Konerko, a jam shot off the wrists that looped into shallow right.
This day, manager John Farrell could forgive his sins.
“Frankie’s in a little bit of a rough stretch right now,” Farrell said. “They get a double just inside the bag to the opposite field and a jam-shot bloop that costs him the tying run. But again you have to point to the resolve and the resilience of this group.”
In the opening inning the Jays received a brief 3-0 lead thanks to a three-run bomb by Jose Bautista.
It was homer No. 20 of the season for Bautista, marking the second time in his career he has hit that plateau.
That it would occur in just his 44th game of the season is noteworthy as it marked a club record. Bautista became the quickest player in club history to hit No. 20, shattering the mark held by George Bell who took 53 games to hit his 20th in 1987.
To show how far ahead of pace Bautista is this season, last year when he hammered 54 home runs, he didn’t hit his 20th until June 22.
By hitting 20 dingers in the 44 games he has played (the 52nd for the Jays), Bautista is on pace to have a 70-homer season if he plays in all of their remaining 110 games.
Patterson? Not so many.