TORONTO - Rajai Davis can hit, he showed that.
Keeping track of the innings, well that’s a different matter and he showed that as well.
Thinking it was the ninth inning and that he had delivered the game-winning blow with a shot to the gap in right centre, Davis jogged slowly to first, stepped on the bag and only then realized it was the eighth as Mike McCoy and Yunel Escobar whizzed around the bases to score on his double.
Davis made it into second when he could have easily had a standup triple but the two RBIs proved to be the difference in a 7-5 Jays victory over a pitiful Seattle Mariners squad.
“I was thinking the same thing,” Davis said when a reporter asked him about his hit in the ninth before correcting himself.
A walk-off in his mind?
“Well, you know I guess I was just focused on hitting and it felt good off the bat and I was admiring it a little bit,” Davis said. “It was a good pitch to hit and we were able to square it up, hit it where they ain’t, score some runs.”
All in all it was a goofy kind of game and provided more heartbreak for the sad-sad Mariners who have now dropped 12 in a row and head on for three-game series in Boston and New York.
After the Jays had scored three in the seventh to take a 5-1 lead, the Mariners looked to be about as dead as a team can look.
But misfortune, which had spit in their face all day, turned in their favour in the eighth and out of seemingly nowhere, a miraculous comeback started to grow.
In what seemed a snap of a finger, the blink of an eye, a game that was all but over and filed away appeared to be slipping out of the Jays grasp after Miguel Olivo smote a one-out grand slam off Casey Janssen to tie the contest.
In the time it took for the ball to leave Olivo’s bat and exit over the fence in centre, a W disappeared in the win column of Jays starter Ricky Romero.
It was the 30th appearance of the season for Janssen and the first home run that he has allowed.
“I was trying to cut him away,” a dejected Janssen said. “Obviously you want to get an out right there and being greedy you want to get a double play.
“I just left it centre. It just didn’t bite like I wanted it to.”
In a situation like that Janssen wants to pick up his starter and exit the inning with the lead intact.
“I feel awful for Ricky,” he said. “He pitched his heart out and to come away with a no-decision, it makes me want to throw up.
“We pulled it out and it was a big win for the team, but for me, it’s pretty disappointing.”
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
For the second time in the three-game series, Jays manager John Farrell penciled in a lineup that featured a trio of left-handed hitting outfielders in Corey Patterson, Eric Thames and Travis Snider.
Snider, of course, has been absolutely marvelous since he returned from Las Vegas on July 4 and Thursday marked his second start in centre field, which looking down the road, may be where he opens the 2012 season.
As it stands now, Davis is faster but Snider gets quicker jumps, makes better reads and takes better routes to the ball. He also has a much stronger and more accurate arm.
Farrell wouldn’t go as far as stating that this is how he will line up his outfield for the rest of the season whenever they face a right-handed starter but the odds are good that he will employ it more often than not.
A right-handed hitter, Davis is batting just .226 vs. right-handers while hitting .281 vs. lefties. However, he came into the game with a career mark of 9-for-22 vs. Doug Fister, the Seattle starter.
“I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a printed up schedule when we have a right-handed starter,” Farrell said of his left-handed hitting outfield. “Rajai’s been every good against left-handed pitching and he’s had some issues from time to time with right-handers.
“Again this is another opportunity for us to take a look at Travis in centre field and to get another left-handed bat in the lineup.”
In the third inning the Mariners had something going as Franklin Gutierrez singled and two outs later stole second on the first pitch to Ichiro Suzuki. With first base open and Ichiro a 6-for-14 hitter vs. Romero over his career, the Jays lefty followed with the unintentional, intentional walk with three more balls out of the strike zone. The strategy worked as Romero got Brendan Ryan looking to end the inning ... The Jays didn’t collect their first hit until Eric Thames singled with one out in the fourth. Mariners starter Doug Fister had retired the first 10 hitters he faced ... In the fifth, Snider made a bad decision when he threw home in an effort to cut down the speedy Chone Figgins who scored from second on a single by Ichiro. The throw allowed Jack Wilson to move to third and Ichiro to advance to second putting both runners in scoring position.