Is there anything better than beating the Yankees? Doing it at Yankee Stadium makes it that much better.
Carlos Villanueva makes his first start for us and his first start since 2009 and it was great. 5 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned and 5 strikeouts. He was firing strikes and he didn't look too tired in his 5th inning of work. He might have been again to go another inning, but no reason to push him. If you had told me, when we signed him, that he'd be starting games I'd have laughed at you. Now? I want to see him make a couple more starts and if they are anything like this, I want him to stay in the rotation.
We also got 4 good innings out of our bullpen. Jason Frasor gave up a run in his inning, his first run allowed since April 17th. More than a month of shutout ball, that is pretty good. It would have gone longer had Yunel Escobar not dropped what should have been a double play ball. Jon Rauch gave us a perfect 7th, but in the 8th he gave up a walk and a hit, getting one out. John Farrell surprised me by bringing Luis Perez to pitch to Robinson Cano with 2 on. Cano singled and with the right-handed hitting Russell Martin coming up, I was sure he'd bring Dotel in. But no. Farrell is smarter than me, Perez got Martin and Posada to get out of the inning. Frank Francisco pitched the 9th, giving up a lead off single and a long fly that was just foul but other than that he did fine, if going too deep into the counts for my liking.
And we got some offense. Jose Bautista hit his 19th homer of the season. J.P. Arencibia hit a 3 run double and a run scoring single. Aaron Hill went 2 for 4 with a ground rule double, it is great to see him hitting the ball hard again. Everyone else had a hit except Eric Thames, who took a bases loaded walk and, sigh, EE. Our third basemen still haven't had a hit since May 15th. Please Alex, can we do something here?
Jays of the Day? By the numbers Carlos Villanueva (.191 WPA) and Jose Bautista (.135). I'm going to give one to JP as well. No one had Suckage numbers.
We had a couple of misadventures in the infield. EE waved at a grounder that went by him and, with 2 on in the 6th, Yunel dropped what should have been a double play ball. Aaron Hill picked it up just before ARod slid into 2nd, but we didn't get the call. Being fair, it was a tough call, the umpire had to be too close to see both the glove hand and the foot sliding into the bag. That cost Frasor his first earned run in more than a month, the DP would have ended the inning. The other bad move was Rajai Davis getting caught stealing with Jose at the plate. That can't happen. Stealing in front of Bautista is a bad move, getting caught is unforgivable.
With the win we are 24-23, 2 games back of the Rays, who are losing to the Tigers at this moment. It is a very tight division. Tomorrow Ricky (4-4, 3.10, coming off two great starts) goes against the Yankees and CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.06, he isn't so bad either). We've been great vs lefties this season, I hope it continues.
I really am amazed that Farrell had enough faith in Perez to bring him into a game with 2 on and us up by 5 against the Yankees. And leaving him in against the RHB amazed me more.
The game thread was a lot of fun tonight. Join in with us tomorrow, maybe I'll have a new vehicle to tell you about.