Lawrie's walk-off homer wins it
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
|Blue Jays baserunner Brett Lawrie leaps onto teammate Yunel Escobar after hitting a walk-off home run against the Rangers at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., May 1, 2012. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)
TORONTO - How’s your week, Brett Lawrie?
After a photo shoot for Victoria’s Secret on Monday, Lawrie led off the bottom of the ninth hitting a 3-2 pitch from reliever Mike Adams off the top of the fence for an 8-7 Blue Jays win over the Texas Rangers Tuesday at Rogers Centre before 18,774 fans.
Lawrie tossed off his helmet rounding third, pointing at Ricky Romero, the first to arrive and went airborne high-fiving Yunel Escobar.
Mr. Excitement, Lawrie, stuck the landing, even if he did land two feet past the plate and had to come back and touch it as players emptied their water bottles on him.
Lawrie ripped off his own uniform top. Edwin Encarnacion picked up Lawrie’s top and pulled it over Lawrie’s head.
This was a night when the home-run swing returned ... Kelly Johnson a three-run shot off the top of the fence in left and a Jose Bautista blast off the ribbon board in the third deck, both in the third.
WHAT GOES UP
Lawrie’s landing was a Kendry Morales style celebration.
Lawrie hit a walk-off homer last season, but we don’t remember him getting that high in the air approaching the plate.
“First thing I thought of was Kendry Morales,” said Eric Thames. “Edwin almost rolled his ankle stepping on the plate after his homer the other night against Seattle.”
Morales broke his leg in May 2010 following a walk-off grand slam to give the Los Angeles Angels a win over the Seattle Mariners.
“He has to be smarter than that,” said J.P. Arencibia, Lawrie’s best friend. “If he gets hurt, we’re in trouble.”
Jeff Mathis was with the Angels when Morales went up and came down injured.
“Someone bumped Kendry, I’m not sure who,” Mathis said. “Brett brings a lot of energy, plays the game hard.”
RUNNING AND GUNNING
Manager John Farrell had a good night. He had the runners going on a hit and run — Colby Rasmus from second and Mathis from first — when Johnson homered ... And after watching the Jays get the first two hitters on, down by two in the sixth and seeing nothing develop thanks to a double-play ball, he switched up next inning in the same situation. Rasmus bunted the runners over and reached on a Mike Napoli error. Mathis knocked in a run with a grounder, beating the throw to first, took second on Escobar’s hit-and-run grounder and scored on a Johnson single to centre, his fourth RBI of the night.
Scouts have compared right-hander Drew Hutchison to Shaun Marcum “with more velocity.” Hutchison was still throwing 93 mph in the sixth. He worked six innings allowing six runs — five earned — on seven hits and two walks. Despite being down 5-0 in the second, he stayed longer than the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz. Hutchison threw 100 pitches, 61 for strikes. Feliz was gone after five ... Hutchison started with a 13-pitch first, striking out Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus (looking) and Michael Young. He then fanned Nelson Cruz to become the first Jay since Josh Towers on April 27, 2007 to open with four Ks, also against the Texicans.
“That was a big outing for the kid,” Mathis said. “I was happy for him.”
The Jays talked about improved defence this spring. This homestand has seen them lose Friday as Lawrie made a throwing error. Johnson dropped a pop up against Seattle ... Hutchison fielded Gentry’s comebacker in the fourth and fired to second, the ball going into centre as Escobar was charged with an error. Then, Johnson fielded a ground ball, tried to turn an inning-ending double play himself and his throw wound up in the bull- rushes as the run scored .... While Hutchison was knocked around in the second, had Lawrie been able to turn two on a Gentry grounder, it’s a two-run inning. Farrell argued with ump Joe West that runner Mitch Moreland affected Lawrie. West maintained his perfect record in arguments. With the speedy Gentry running, it would have been tough to turn two.