Blue Jays storm back in the ninth to top O's

Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki is mobbed by teammates after he hitting a game-winning...

Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki is mobbed by teammates after he hitting a game-winning walkoff double against the Orioles at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, May 26, 2013. (FRED THORNHILL/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:35 PM ET

TORONTO - Munenori Kawasaki is not your usual reserved, slightly aloof Japanese player.

Armed with a warm, open and pleasant attitude and an ever-present book of English phrases, Kawasaki has quickly warmed himself to his Blue Jays teammates and staff.

Once thought of as a short-term fill-in for injured shortstop Jose Reyes, Kawasaki has solidified his spot on the team and will reside there until Reyes return.

In the interim, he gives his club everything he has, including his good nature, and on Sunday afternoon both Kawasaki and the Jays were rewarded by his play.

With two singles and one RBI in four previous trips to the plate, Kawasaki was the man of the moment in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on the corners, two out, a full count and his team trailing 5-4 after scoring two previous runs in the inning, the left-handed hitter laced a liner into the gap in left centre for a two-run double to hand the Jays a 6-5 walkoff victory over the Baltimore Orioles to earn a split in the four-game series.

It was certainly their most improbable and surprising win of the season.

Kawasaki has charmed his new teammates from the first day he has arrived and provides an upbeat presence both on the field and in the clubhouse.

He doesn't have the best range or arm strength in the field and at the plate he is an opposite field slasher. But he always works the count and makes the most of his at-bats.

With his output yesterday he raised his average to .247 while his RBI total at 14 is equal to that of, say, Brett Lawrie.


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