July 1, 2012
Lawrie produces Canada Day fireworksJays fall 10-6 to Angels
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - It was quite a Canada Day greeting that Brett Lawrie delivered to John Hester.
How about that forearm shiver that sent the Angels catcher into a Charlie Brown-style cartwheel in back of home plate?
It was hard-nosed baseball all the way — Pete Rose would have loved it — and led to Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia’s ejection and some angry words from pitching coach Mike Butcher directed at Lawrie.
“I think I’m built for it,” Lawrie said of the collision. “I’m alright. I’m glad I scored a run."
Unfortunately it didn’t lead to a Jays win thanks to Mike Trout’s solo shot and a two-run blast from Mark Trumbo, both in the eighth against Francisco Cordero, before more bad relief in the ninth.
The sixth inning, though, was when the fireworks erupted.
With the bases loaded and the Jays trailing 3-0, Jose Bautista came to the plate with the crowd of 34,853 on its feet and screaming.
They were looking for fireworks and would receive some — but not the expected kind.
Bautista grounded sharply to second baseman Howie Kendrick, who booted the ball.
One run scored and Lawrie initially held up at third. But when he saw that Colby Rasmus anticipated him going home and was caught in no-man’s land between second and third, Lawrie broke for the plate. By this time Kendrick recovered the ball and fired home. Instead of sliding Lawrie came in straight up and, with his forearms extended, drilled Hester.
“He (coach Brian Butterfield) originally threw a stop sign up,” Lawrie said, describing the course of events. “I stopped and when I did I looked behind and Rasmus had his head down and was still going. By that point I saw the ball was in centre field and when he lobbed it in that was my cue I got to go. I didn’t want to give them an easy out at third base.”
Hester caught the ball but in the collision Hester never applied the tag and Lawrie was ruled safe.
That brought Scioscia out to argue heatedly with home plate ump James Hoye, who was not having a particularly good day in back of the plate.
The Angels were upset Lawrie elected to plow into Hester.
“When you see the ball at second base you know there’s going to be a play at the plate so you have to brace yourself,” Lawrie said. “The throw took the catcher from his side of the batter’s box across the plate and allowed him to come right in front of home plate. For me as a runner, I can’t tell where the ball is, if it’s behind me or any which way it is. It’s important for me to protect myself. It took him right in front of the plate and I thought it was a clean play.”
What about the chirping from Butcher?
“I couldn’t tell what he was trying to say,” Lawrie said. “He was directing it at me but I didn’t know what he was trying to say. I couldn’t read his lips.”
A play like Lawrie’s should inspire a team but the only team that got charged up was the visitors. After Cordero’s debacle in the eighth, Jesse Chavez gave up four in the ninth.
The Jays came back with a three-run shot from Colby Rasmus in the ninth to make it respectable.
Meanwhile, Jays starter Aaron Laffey couldn’t produce a win but the left-hander definitely deserves another kick at the can.
“I thought Aaron did a very good job once again today, six quality innings for us,” manager John Farrell said. “We climbed back into it with J.P.’s solo home run (in the seventh to tie it 3-3) but as we’ve seen, things got away from us a little bit late there.”
That’s putting it mildly.
The Jays now prepare for a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals, a club the Jays swept through a four-game series in Kansas City earlier this season. Oddly enough, the Royals have a far better record on the road where they have gone 21-19.