TORONTO - Adam Lind’s sweet swing is back.
After two months of misery which earned him an extended trip down to triple-A Las Vegas, Lind made his return this week opening on the road in Boston.
The Jays first baseman saved his best for the hometown fans as he ripped two home runs to lead the Blue Jays to a much-needed 7-5 triumph Friday night over the Los Angeles Angels.
Lind hit a three-run bomb in the Jays' five-run fourth and in the eighth added an all-important insurance run with a solo shot against lefty Hisanori Takahashi. It was his first multiple home run game of the season and eighth of his career.
“It was definitely a relief to hit a home run and help the team win,” Lind said. “This is the team that I belong with and I missed the guys the month that I was gone and it’s nice to be back out there mixing it up with them.”
The home runs were the first since he rejoined the team and he added that it wasn’t a big deal to have some success as quickly as he did just to make sure that the negative thoughts didn’t start to creep back into his head.
“I think it’s important for everybody but I’m not going to worry about the results as much as just trying to have quality at bats and see the pitches over the plate,” he said. “The last two weeks I’ve been seeing it pretty well but there’s nothing like doing it here at home.”
The Jays, who blew a 5-3 lead in the seventh, received their go-ahead run in the seventh on a RBI double by Yunel Escobar, his third hit of the night.
Home runs are nothing new to the Blue Jays these days but a starter allowing three runs over five innings of work is like money from heaven.
If that seems like a modest goal - it is. But such is the state of the Blue Jays rotation these days.
Carlos Villanueva stuck around for five innings and 92 pitches and went a long way towards putting an end to a three-game losing streak.
It wasn’t enough to get the win but in his five innings Villanueva did a lot of heavy lifting.
“He kept the game in check, particularly in that third inning where they pressed him for a 28 pitch inning,” Farrell said. “We knew at that point it was going to be hopefully five and then try to get two out of (Scott) Richmond following him.
“But he (Villanueva) made a couple of big pitches particularly after giving up that one run in the fifth and shutting it off at that point. But much as we anticipated, he’ll come out, he’ll throw strikes and use all of his stuff to disrupt timing and he did that once again tonight.”
In the fifth inning Villanueva was clearly running on fumes and he was taking a lot of time between pitches in order to gather his strength. He ended the game having thrown 92 which was more than the target of 85.
“I felt a little tired, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “But I felt fine in the end and I appreciate the trust they put in me to be able to finish five (and get a shot at the win).”
With the rotation in tatters due to the injuries, Villanueva knows that each fill-in starter has to go beyond the call of duty for the team.
“After losing yesterday’s game, it was heartbreaking,” he said of the Jays 9-7 loss. “It’s a great way to even the series out and feel good about ourselves.
“Like I said, I feel very good right now. Tomorrow I’ll probably be sore but I prepared for it this off-season and I’m not surprised I was able to go 92. I think my pitches were still crisp.
“But you’ve got to pull through. Right now we need the innings, to step up and deliver. If that means 100 pitches next time, if I can do it then I’ll be out there and I’ll do it. I know how hard John and Bruce (Walton) are working to get us through this tough patch. You can’t be selfish, you’ve got to think about the guys down their (bullpen) and stretch it out as long as you can.”
And wait for the home runs to come.