Blue Jays the new kings of kismet

Melky Cabrera makes a lunging grab of Travis Ishikawa's sinking line drive in the second inning, a...

Melky Cabrera makes a lunging grab of Travis Ishikawa's sinking line drive in the second inning, a combination of good play and good luck on the Blue Jays' part. (Reuters)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

TORONTO - This isn’t to suggest John Gibbons and Jose Bautista need to consider getting on their knees to say their prayers tonight.

But they might want to think about it. You know. Just in case. Because those baseball gods who conspired to make April and May such miserable months appear to be back on side. And they might want to keep them happy.

In the midst of a goodwill streak that now extends to double figures, the Jays can do no wrong.

And, even when they do, it doesn’t appear to matter.

They still end up in the win column — 10 times, and counting, after Saturday’s 4-2 decision over the bedazzled Baltimores.

On Friday, Munenori Kawasaki, at age 32, hits his first major-league homer en route to beating them. Saturday, the O’s out-hit the Jays 7-2. In every inning, except three, they put runners aboard and starter Miguel Gonzalez throws up a three-hitter into the eighth — and Toronto still walked fortune’s path to victory.

You know you are going good when you’re winning games on home runs by Kawasaki — who has hit only one in 248 career major league at-bats — and Maicer Izturis.

“I’m not a home run hitter. I was just trying for a base hit, maybe a double,” said Izturis. Instead, a crowd of 43,261, acting as if Robbie Alomar had just shocked Dennis Eckersley in an American League Championship Series, clamored and got jiggy when he deposited Gonzalez’s first pitch in the fifth into the seats in right.

It’s evident a team is living under its own lucky star when even hitting a batter with a pitch, then complicating it with a wild pitch in the same inning, doesn’t come back to hurt.

“It’s a weird game where you can make your best pitch and a guy hits it out, or your worst and he swings and misses,” said Mark Wagner, who came on in relief after Aaron Loup hit Chris Davis, in a nervous seventh inning.

Wagner, who has been near perfect out of the bullpen (ERA of 0.82) since arriving from Buffalo, then fired a pitch so low it could’ve taken the roof off a gopher hole, leaving catcher J.P. Arencibia scampering to the backstop. Davis eased into second base.

Trouble?

Not when a team is winning 10 in a row, even though Bautista, it’s offensive fulcrum, has been locked in a 4- for-34 funk since it started. So, it explains why it’s still all good for the re-inspired boys in blue, even when J.J. Hardy slaps a ball up the middle, Wagner flails at it with his mitt and gets a piece of it.

When things are going bad, Wagner agrees, that ball is in centre field. But these are happy days.

“I barely got anything on that, but it was just enough to redirect it coincidentally to Kawasaki and it helps get us out of the inning,” said Wagner. Hardy was DOA at first base and Davis ended up at third waiting for something good to happen.

For Baltimore, it never did. Baseball can be strange that way. Reward is not dispensed in nine-inning portions. That’s why 162 games tell a better tale then what a team does in April. Or May. That’s why the Jays are back to relevance in the AL East.

“Obviously, we’re playing well and getting the big plays in big moments. Like today,” said Wagner, “we only have four hits but we still score enough to win. In addition to playing well, you need a little luck. Hopefully, we get some of both.”

They got a mittful Saturday.

Such as in the second inning when Melky Cabrera ventured into no-man’s land in short left-centre, almost does a face plant, but comes away with Travis Ishikawa’s sinking liner.

In the third, the O’s had Ryan Flaherty aboard when Taylor Teagarden hit a laser moundward. Now ,when things are going bad, that bounces off Roy Halladay’s shin or J. A. Happ’s noggin.

But things are lookin’ sweeter than Aunt Jemima in the morning. So the line drive hits Toronto starter, Chien-Ming Wang, in the glove. Flaherty is doubled off first.

“I just put my glove down,” said Wang. The 43,261-strong Hallelujiah does not care how it happened; just that it did.

While scouting is important and teams have data on defensive positioning, a little kismet goes a long way says Adam Lind who saw both sides. It came in the same game this week against Colorado.

“Luck does come into it,” he said. “I hit a ball hard up the middle. If it’s a righty (pitching), it’s a hit. But since it was a lefty, the glove is right there. Then, later, if I’m playing one foot to the left, Carlos Gonzalez’s (potential game-winning) line drive goes right by me.”

On Saturday, that little scenario played out at first base again with Edwin Encarnacion being in just the right spot to dive left for Manny Machado’s carpet-burner.

So, no matter that Emilio Bonifacio booted a Chris Davis grounder that came around to tie the game. It was remedied immediately by Izturis’ homer.

No matter, also, when Wang got a fastball up on Adam Jones. Normally, that ends up somewhere between Scarborough and Pickering. Not this day. Jones fouls it back.

And Bautista? The game-winning homer says: ‘What slump?’

Still, as luck would have it, if not for Kawasaki slapping a single up the gut in that watershed eighth, Bautista doesn’t come to the plate, doesn’t get a chance to hit his two-out homer, doesn’t get a chance to be the difference-maker.

“We’re doing a little bit of everything. You need that,” said Gibbons. “One guy can’t carry the load.”

So it has been in June: All for one and 10 for all!


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