August 27, 2012
Blue Jays end losing streak with extra-innings win against Yankees
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
NEW YORK - Well now. That's the way to end a losing streak.
Down to their last out Monday night and at risk of extending their losing streak to eight games, the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 7-6 lead against the New York Yankees in the top of the ninth with a three-run home run from the most unlikely source: Colby Rasmus.
The Yankees came right back to tie it in the bottom of the inning, but the Jays rebounded again in the 11th for an unearned run to grab an 8-7 victory that must have seemed like a cool drink of water to a team that's lost in the desert.
"I was just happy I was able to do something for my team to help us get back in the ballgame," said Rasmus.
Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the ninth with his 14th home run, tying the score at 7-7 before the Jays rallied to win in the 11th.
"These are those hard-fought games, and you win it in the 11th inning," said Jays manager John Farrell. "If it goes the other way, it almost feels like two losses."
Jays newcomer Yorvit Torrealba led off the 11th with a single and was lifted for pinch-runner Mike McCoy. Reliever Derek Lowe then threw wildly at first base on a lame pickoff attempt and McCoy scooted all the way to third. Adeiny Hechavarria then hit a slow bouncer to third, and when Jayson Nix threw to first, McCoy scooted home.
"I saw the slow roller," said McCoy, “"and I just followed (Nix) down and took off when he threw it to first. It's just a reaction. I saw the play develop in front of me and read it and went. He wants to get the out. But if he pump-fakes and doesn't throw, I'm pretty much hung out to dry."
Darren Oliver, working his second inning of relief, then held the Yankees at bay for his third save of the year.
Rasmus came to the plate with two outs in the ninth against lights-out closer Rafael Soriano. Rasmus, with two hits in his previous 41 at-bats, stunned the Yankee Stadium crowd by lashing the second pitch he saw on a high arc into the right-field bleachers, scoring Moises Sierra and Rajai Davis.
"It's definitely been tough, but I've been through (slumps) before," said Rasmus. "You've just got to ride those out and keep working and find a way to get back. Hopefully this will get me going and also get our team going."
Rasmus' blast, his 21st of the season, marked Soriano's third blown save in 36 opportunities and ended a string of personal futility that had coincided with Toronto's inability to win. Rasmus had only two hits in the last nine games, including a single in the sixth Monday. When he stepped in against Soriano in the ninth, he said it helped to have at least one hit previously in the game.
"It definitely felt good," he said of his single. "It was nice just to barrel one up and see it hit some grass."
The ball he hit in the ninth didn't come close to any grass, just wood and cement beyond the right-field fence.
The Jays came into this game on a seven-game losing skid. They had lost 15 of their last 18 and 21 of their last 26. By the dawn of the ninth, the next loss seemed a fait accompli with the Yanks in control at 6-4 and Soriano entering the game.
But for once, something went right for the Jays.
On the subject of injuries, it wouldn’t be a trip to Yankee Stadium without some Blue Jay being injured. Monday, pitchers Henderson Alvarez and Aaron Laffey followed in the footsteps of Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie, the latter two of whom were injured at the ballpark in July. Alvarez took a groundball off his left leg from the bat of New York catcher Russell Martin in the bottom of the fourth and couldn’t continue. Two innings later, Laffey suffered a similar fate, taking a comebacker off his left leg, injuring a calf muscle.
X-rays showed no fractures and both Alvarez and Laffey are day-to-day.
During the first few innings Monday, it appeared Alvarez was going to give the Jays a decent chance to win this one.
The teams traded solo home runs in the first two innings -- Robinson Cano for the Yankees in the bottom of the first and Adam Lind for the Jays in the top of the second.
Cano put the Yankees ahead with another solo shot, his 27th homer of the year, leading off the fourth. After Mark Teixeira walked and Curtis Granderson flied out to centre, Eric Chavez singled to put runners at first and second for Martin.
Martin’s sharply-hit comebacker hit Alvarez in the left shin and caromed into no-man’s land in short-right field, scoring Teixeira from second, leaving runners at first and third. Alvarez was unable to continue and was replaced by lefty Laffey.
The Yanks took a three-run lead in that inning, but Yorvit Torrealba’s first homer as a Jay, a two-run shot, cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth. Nick Swisher’s 20th homer of the year, a two-run shot, restored New York’s three-run cushion.
In the sixth, Laffey was struck on the left leg by a ball hit by Jeter. Laffey got the out but was unable to continue.
The Jays got another run back in the seventh to make it a two-run game on a Hechavarria RBI single, his second hit of the game. Toronto put the tying runs aboard in the eighth, but reliever David Robertson struck out Kelly Johnson to end the threat.
But for once this month, the Jays didn't fold their tent and ended up with their first win on this road trip that had seen them swept in Detroit and Baltimore.
"We had good at-bats tonight," said Farrell. "Much better swings than we have been taking lately. We manufactured some runs but I'm real pleased with the guys competed all night."