KANSAS CITY - Adam Lind’s swing is so sweet these days that diabetics should be banned from watching it.
In his past four games after returning this past Saturday from a prolonged stint on the disabled list, Lind has crashed four home runs including a grand slam to centre field Wednesday against the reeling Kansas City Royals.
The slam, the second of Lind’s career, came on the second pitch he saw from reliever Nate Adcock in the sixth inning and shot the Jays out to a 9-4 lead in a game they would win 9-8 by the skin of their teeth.
Octovio Dotel would give up a three-run homer in the eighth to make it a two-run game and in the ninth Casey Janssen came on and gave up a two-out RBI double before retiring Melky Cabrera on a pop to short to end the game and earn his first save since Aug. 31 of 2009.
“It was a chance to get him in and shut the game down,” manager John Farrell said of why he picked Janssen. “When we were up two I felt Janssen had the ability to control the running game and execute pitches.”
Janssen has closed out games before, saving six games in 2007.
“The ninth, the sixth, the seventh, they’re all the same to me. It’s three outs,” Janssen said. “I try to not make it as big as the situation presents itself.”
The at-bat for Lind came about due to Royals’ manager Ned Yost not wanting to pitch to Jose Bautista with two out and first base open. So after an initial Adcock ball, the Royals walked Bautista, the Major League home run leader with 20, to face Lind.
Given how hot Lind has been, it was a suicidal move. Lind didn’t waste much time as he drove the 1-0 pitch over the wall in centre for his 11th homer of the season.
That Bautista would draw the intentional walk — he had two singles in his previous three at-bats — is a sign of respect even though he hasn’t been hitting home runs of late. In fact, Bautista has now gone without a home run for 10 consecutive games and has not managed an extra-base hit in his past eight.
“I don’t think it’s disrespect,” Lind said of the decision to walk Bautista and pitch to him. “The other manager’s trying to win the game.”
Is he having fun since he’s returned?
“It’s cool, hitting homers. Yeah, it’s nice,” Lind replied.
A positive sign for the Jays is that even without Bautista’s muscle — and he was due to cool off after his torrid May — they are still hitting home runs and winning games.
During Bautista’s homerless stretch, the Jays have banged out 15 dingers and have gone 6-4, proving they are much more than a one-man gang .
Lind’s bomb was the second homer for the Jays this night, as Jayson Nix hit a timely three-run shot in the fourth to propel the Jays from a 4-2 deficit.
The beneficiary of the muscle shots was right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who supplied seven solid innings.
It was the first time that Villanueva, making his fourth start, has gone seven innings this season and with the win moved to 4-0.
Setback for Lawrie
The victory was a confidence boost for a battered and bruised Blue Jays team that arrived at Kauffman Stadium Wednesday night.
Out of the lineup were shortstop Yunel Escobar and catcher J.P. Arencibia. Escobar was injured while sliding into second base in Tuesday’s victory, which resulted in a left quad bruise and was limping noticeably in the Jays clubhouse before the game.
Arencibia, meanwhile, has a bruised left thumb, the result of a foul tip in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s game.
But the injury that may have hurt the most was the one that surfaced hundreds of miles away as manager John Farrell announced that a CAT-scan revealed that hot-shot prospect Brett Lawrie had suffered a non-displaced fracture to a bone in the back of his left hand and would be out of action a minimum of three more weeks.
Lawrie, who had all but punched his ticket to the Blue Jays, was just days away from being called up when he was hit by a pitch in the back of his left hand while playing for triple-A Las Vegas May 31.
Originally it was thought that Lawrie would be back in a day or two.
But when the swelling went down a bone scan revealed the fracture.
“Yesterday it was determined that there was a fracture found on his left hand,” Farrell said. “There will be no baseball activity two to three weeks. He has been returned to Florida to keep his overall conditioning as best possible and when he’s able to regain activity, we’ll get him back to Las Vegas, which is likely three weeks (the end of June).”
Injuries always seem to take longer to heal than first anticipated so it seems Lawrie, the pride and joy of Langley, B.C., will be out for a three-week minimum. Then he’ll need a couple of weeks of game action which means that it is unlikely that he’ll be available to play for the Jays until after the July 11-13 all-star break.