April 15, 2012
Jays hitting comeback ends series with a win
By Mike Rutsey, QMI AGENCY
Through the opening five innings the only thing the Blue Jays were hitting was the bottom of the barrel.
Then in the sixth they lowered the boom and it was bombs away.
By the time the carnage ended, Baltimore starter Brian Matusz had been driven from the game, the Jays would send 13 batters to the plate and would score seven runs en route to a much-needed 9-2 blowout win.
The victory moved the Jays to 5-4 on the season and allowed them to salvage the final game of the three-game series.
Jose Bautista, who was 0-for-2 on the day, started it off with a double to centre — his first double of the season.
Cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion followed, leaned into a 1-2 pitch and sent it into the second deck in left for his third homer of the season and a 3-2 Blue Jays lead. The parade had just started.
Before the inning ended ex-Jays reliever Kevin Gregg would pour gasoline on the fire allowing three more hits and three more runs including a two-run double by Yunel Escobar.
In sporting a collective batting average that was barely hovering above the Mendoza line, the Jays appeared to get the perfect tonic to fix their ills in Matusz.
The 25-year-old lefty may be a fine chap and all that but as far as throwing a baseball he has been as big a dud as can be found in the big leagues of late.
In his previous 11 starts beginning last June 10, Matusz had gone 0-10 with a 12.66 ERA indicating he wasn’t losing a lot of close ones — he was getting tonged. In his past 42 2/3 innings, Matusz allowed 102 runners on 76 hits and 26 walks and had given up 17 home runs while the opposition was hammering him at a .398 clip.
Looking beyond those horrific numbers, Matusz had made three career starts against the Jays where he had gone 0-2 with an 18.56 ERA and had not completed three innings in any of those three starts.
In other words, here was the perfect pigeon for the Jays and their anemic .214 average.
Or so it seemed.
But after the opening five of Sunday’s game the Jays were trailing 2-1 with Matusz a seemingly re-born figure on the mound.
In the sixth, however, the Jays found their stroke and Matusz would go on to suffer yet another defeat.
Getting the win for the Jays was Kyle Drabek who turned in a sparkling performance as he moved to 2-0 on the season.
The right-hander allowed an unearned run in the second and a solo shot by Adam Jones in the sixth, one of six hits the Orioles managed in Drabek’s 7 1/3 innings. He walked just one and struck out six.
The Jays enjoy an off day Monday before playing host to the always tough Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.