Can8ianben's Blog

This is a blog about me. I'm sure it will at some point talk about the things that I love... that being, my wife Meredith, family, friends, EMU, the Jays and baseball, the Maple Leafs, music, art, TV, biking, and whatever else is going on in my mind.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I thought this article was perfect...

After a 5 game losing streak, dropping my beloved Blue Jays from the top of the AL East, all the way down to 4th, the team came out last night and pulled together a win. I found this article in the Toronto Star today and it made me smile...

Blue Jays' bats awaken
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman John McDonald throws to first base to get the Boston's Manny Ramirez out in the third inning of their game at Fenway Park in Boston on April 23, 2007.

Apr 24, 2007 04:30 AM

Sports Reporter

BOSTON–Just before the Jays began their pre-game stretch yesterday afternoon, Toronto starter Tomo Ohka made the long, soggy walk through the Fenway Park tunnels and into the visitors dugout.

As he emerged, he saw dozens of Japanese media types setting up their cameras. He stood stock still, eyes wide, transfixed by the crush.

"Horrible," Ohka said disgustedly to no one in particular. "Horrible!"

When a nearby photographer turned his camera on Ohka, the Japanese starter rebuked him sharply. When another tried wishing him luck, Ohka whirled and fled back down the tunnel.

Back inside, Frank Thomas was stewing quietly in the cramped clubhouse. After losing to Boston starter Tim Wakefield last Wednesday, the slumping DH said menacingly, "We'll see him again in five days, outdoors. Then we'll see."

A few seats away, Aaron Hill wasn't his normal, sunny self. More than anyone else in the Jays lineup, the quietly driven second baseman had been despairing about the club's five-game slump.

"It's been ugly the past week," Hill said after the game. "It had to click sooner or later."

As the sun set, Ohka went out under the figurative glare and held the hot Boston lineup for five crucial innings. Then Thomas sledge-hammered a Wakefield offering 490 feet into the Volvo sign rising above the seats in left field. Hill contributed a career-high four hits, including a ninth-inning two-run homer that sealed Toronto's 7-3 victory over the Red Sox.

Apparently what these Jays needed was a strong sense of outrage.

Manager John Gibbons had been talking for a few days about the little thing – a hit, an opponent's error, a defensive stop – that might turn his "snake-bitten" team's fortunes around. Last night, they got a corral's worth of lucky horseshoes.

In the first, Vernon Wells forced a throwing error during a steal of third that allowed him to score the game's first run. John McDonald, subbing at third base, made at least three grabs that could have shifted the game. Jason Phillips, starting at first after Lyle Overbay came down sick, knocked in the winning run with a two-out single in the sixth. Royce Clayton, who is quietly putting up strong numbers, got Hill to third with a sacrifice bunt in the eighth.

Again and again, the Jays got a timely hit or made a smart play – qualities the team has sorely lacked lately.

"We haven't been executing," Hill said. "That was the biggest part of our success tonight. We got the bunt down, we got him over, we got him in with two outs."

Ohka set the tone by going straight at a Boston lineup that had just ground through the Yankees in a series sweep.

He cruised until a J.D. Drew ground ball slipped by Phillips to start the fourth. Ohka loaded the bases for light-hitting Dustin Pedroia, who slapped a liner off the Green Monster, scoring two. But Ohka rallied with runners on second and third, striking out Julio Lugo and Kevin Youkilis to end the inning.

While their pitching was holding down the fort, the Jays' bats came out of hibernation.

Thomas's tape-measure shot in the sixth was the spark they needed, giving the Jays a 3-2 lead they wound not concede.

With the lead in hand, Ohka turned it over to the demoralized bullpen. But a combination of Casey Janssen, Scott Downs and Jeremy Accardo conceded only run and that was due to a Clayton throwing error.

New closer Jason Frasor came on in the eighth and ploughed through the heart of the Boston order in the ninth. He struck out Manny Ramirez to end the game. On the night, the fearsome combo of Ramirez and David Ortiz went 0 for 9.

"We'll bounce back (tonight), keep that rolling," Gibbons said. "We got the right man pitching."

A few feet away in the tumult of the locker room, the right man, Roy Halladay, was stalking the room as if he would have liked to go out into the darkened park and start the game right then.


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