August 30, 2011
Jays drop a crazy one in Baltimore
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
BALTIMORE - Edgar Allan Poe would have been surprised at this ending.
One of Baltimore’s best scribes when it came to mystery and the macabre, Poe would have shook his head as the battle of beleaguered bullpens between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles went the home side's way Tuesday night.
The Jays asked reliever Brian Tallet, who had not pitched since July 3, to get the final three outs in the bottom of the 10th inning with Toronto leading 5-4. Looking for his first major-league save, Tallet opened with back-to-back walks and the Orioles were able to come off the mat for a 6-5 win before 10,756 fans at Camden Yards.
“We’re trying to massage the bullpen a little,” said interim Jays manager Don Wakamatsu, subbing for John Farrell.
Frank Francisco wasn’t available due to “usage,” as he had pitched three times in the previous seven days.
Jesse Litsch had worked four of the previous six games.
Wakamatsu said both would be available Wednesday.
The Orioles stuck their elbows into Tallet like a cranky chiropractor, putting two runners aboard after 10 pitches. An out later, pinch hitter Jake Fox hit a game-tying single and Ryan Adams, the No. 9 hitter, knocked a walk-off drive.
“It wasn’t an easy spot for (Tallet),” said pitching coach Bruce Walton, “but we knew he would give us a good effort.”
Toronto's Kelly Johnson started the 10th with a triple off the left-field wall and scored the go-ahead run on a Willie Eyre wild pitch.
Then, the game was turned over to Tallet.
And it you thought the 10th was weird ...
How 'bout the ninth?
The Jays evened the score in the ninth when ex-Jays closer Kevin Gregg walked Toronto's No. 9 hitter Mike McCoy after J.P. Arencibia led off with a single and DeWayne Wise entered as a pinch runner.
The Jays then executed a delayed, delayed, double steal, swiping third and then second as the O’s left both bags unprotected.
As Toronto's Yunel Escobar squared to bunt at the plate, Wise noticed third baseman Robert Andino had charged, leaving his base was vacant and Wise's for the taking.
McCoy then took a look at second, found no one home and off he went.
“I shuffled off with my secondary lead, was heading back to first, saw DeWayne head to third and thought ‘I can’t go any where,’ and that’s when I saw no one was at second,” McCoy said.
The Orioles had the wheel play on for a bunt defence and shortstop J.J. Hardy was supposed to be at third.
“When (Wise) took off, it’s a mental mistake by their shortstop, you leave second unprotected, because the second baseman is covering first,” Toronto's Jose Bautista said.
“We did that in the spring, but I’ve never seen that in a big-league game,” said Wakamatsu.
The Jays continued the inning by loading the bases with two out after walks to Adam Lind and Bautista, but Gregg recovered, getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a fielder's choice.
Cecil felt at home Tuesday, sort of. The Jays lefty hails from Hyattsville, Md., and is a former University of Maryland Terp ... Orioles slugger Vladimir Guerrero went to town. Actually, he went to the out-of-town scoreboard. After Cecil walked Adam Jones on four straight pitches with one out in the fifth, Guerrero hit a 2-2 pitch to right. It looked like his drive hit the Oakland-Cleveland scoring line and kicked over the head of right fielder Bautista ... Jones scored on what proved to be the 2,551st hit of Guerrero’s career. Bautista gunned down Guerrero with a throw to Brett Lawrie as the Orioles DH tried to take third ... With two out in the fourth, Cecil fielded Nolan Reimold’s roller and threw off balance to first, allowing Andino to score from second to tie the game 3-3 ... Cecil pitched six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. He threw 115 pitches, 64 for strikes ... The Jays loaded the bases with none out in the fifth on an Eric Thames double, Matt Weiters dropping a Bautista pop up and an Lind single. Encarnacion then hit into a 1-2-3 double play and Johnson flied out deep to centre ... Jays reliever Shawn Camp made an athletic play in the eight fielding Andino’s bunt attempt and firing the ball to third for the force.
From the room
Aaron Hill was the Jays' union rep before he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks last week. It’s an important position with the MLB Basic Agreement set to expire in November. So, who's the new shop steward? “I guess I’ll take it over,” said Bautista, assistant rep under Hill ... Bullpen coach Pat Hentgen threw batting practice before the game. According to Hentgen he was “blowing it past guys. I can still gets guys out ... from 40 feet away.”
In the booth
Baseball fans can vote online for the 2012 Ford C. Frick award starting Thursday (facebook.com/baseballhall) for broadcasting excellence. The top three fan selections appear on the final 10-name ballot for the award, which is selected by a 20-member electorate. Both the late Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth are on the ballot ... Quebecor’s new TVA Sports, which launches this fall, will show 60 Jays games in French next season. Roger Brulotte and Jacques Doucet will be together in the booth as they were when they broadcasted Montreal Expos games.
Who was looking?
Not only were the Jays interested in Houston Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez this summer, but they also looked at speedy Astros centre fielder Michael Bourne before he was dealt to the Atlanta Braves. The Astros scoured the Jays' minor-league ranks at double-A New Hampshire and class-A Dunedin. The Jays ended up acquiring centre fielder Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals instead.
A Sep. 1 to remember
Will the Jays promote Adam Loewen for Thursday afternoon’s game, the date MLB rosters expand? Loewen was chosen fourth overall in North America by the Orioles in 2002, and after attending Chipola College, Baltimore gave him a $3.2 million signing bonus. Two arm surgeries later, Loewen decided to give up pitching and was signed by the Jays as a position player. Meanwhile, the Orioles maintain they had a handshake agreement with Loewen to keep him in their system. To date, Loewen has earned a promotion in his time at triple-A Las Vegas. He's hitting .307 with 16 homers and 81 RBIs and an .882 OPS in 127 games.