May 12, 2012
Bautista, Hutchison have Twins seeing double
By Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency
MINNEAPOLIS - Jose Bautista seems to be finding his stride and so too is Drew Hutchison.
The Blue Jays rookie right-hander, their fifth starter in the rotation, turned in a solid six innings of work Saturday night as he picked up his second win of the season in the Jays 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Bautista, meanwhile, who hits balls out of Target Field as easily as if they were sitting on a tee, snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth with his third solo shot in the past two games. It came with two out and on a full count and it took the slugger a couple of minutes to round the bases.
His line shot off P.J. Walters zipped over the fence and the Budweiser sign in left field, then hit the flower box and railing before caroming back on to the field of play.
The umpires originally ruled the hit a double, huddled briefly, then descended into the bowels of the stadium for the review. Out they popped made the circle the wagons sign and Bautista trotted home with his eighth homer of the campaign.
“More than anything the two guys that are starting to show some signs of life are Lindy (Adam Lind) getting that base hit for the RBI (in the fifth) and then Jose, who absolutely loves hitting in this ball park,” manager John Farrell said. “It was good to see those guys come up in a big way today.”
As for Hutchison, 2-1, he lived up to the pre-game hype supplied by general manager Alex Anthopoulos who was making a celebrity appearance.
“He doesn’t pitch like a guy with a six (6.65) ERA,” Anthopoulos said of Hutchison before the game. “I’m not trying to run from the stats, obviously those runs have been put on the board. But he’s shown very good stuff at times, he’s up to 94 (mph). He’s flashed a very good slider at times.
"The big key is that he’s flashed certain things. His command has come and gone but he’s a guy that is going to throw strikes," he added. "So from that standpoint, he’s only going to improve and I think you’re going to see him continue to get better each time out. He’s battled and he’s been able to keep us in games.”
He battled again against the Twins, especially in the fourth and sixth, and held the Twins to the one run on three hits, walked four and struck out four.
“My fastball command wasn’t that great today,” Hutchison said. “I battled through that and made some good pitches when I needed to and didn’t give in.
Defensively, the Jays worked the deflection play like a charm.
In the fifth, the Twins Darin Mastroianni hit a smash that Brett Lawrie dived for but could only get a piece with his glove. The ball deflected to shortstop Yunel Escobar who made a one-hop throw and thanks to a good scoop by Adam Lind, they nailed Mastroianni by a step at first.
In the sixth Hutchison ended the inning with a 1-6-3 deflection for the out but the best was yet to come.
In the seventh, Chris Parmelee hit a pop in foul ground back of third and into shallow left. Lawrie backpedaled for the ball and had it pop in and out of his glove but right behind him was left field Eric Thames who snagged the ball for the out.
Hutchison pitched his way in and out of trouble in the fourth when he limited the Twins to a single run.
With runners on first and second and one out, Hutchison struck out Josh Willingham of a 1-2 slider. He then had a 1-2 count against Ryan Doumit but lost him with three consecutive balls to load the bases. Trevor Plouffe then worked the count full and Hutchison couldn’t come through as he fired a high fastball out of the zone for a walk that brought in the run. That brought pitching coach Bruce Walton out for a visit and Hutchison regrouped as he induced Parmelee to ground out to second to end the inning. It was an inning that could easily have gotten away from him.
“Just make a pitch and get out out of it,” he said of his mindset after he walked in the run. “So far this year I’ve had some big innings and I didn’t want that to happen again. Just one pitch away, make a quality pitch.”
He did and so too did the relievers that followed.
In the ninth with the one-run lead Casey Janssen came on and like he did in Oakland had a 1-2-3 inning for his second save.
“He attacks the strike zone and he pitches aggressively and more times than not he’s pitching ahead in the count,” Farrell said of his interim closer. “He keeps the ball down and he’s going to force the opponet to beat him rather than issuing a walk.
"He’s been aggressive and he’s taken to the role very well.”