The Happy Recap
The Blue Jays finally snapped their losing streak by defeating the Red Sox 7-3 Monday night. Attaway, fellas!
Tomo Ohka definitely wasn't great, but he kept the Jays in the game until he was pulled by Gibbons when Mike Lowell singled through the left side to lead off the 6th inning. He surrendered 6 hits and 3 walks, 3 runs (2 earned, more on that later), although he did strike out 4.
The Jays were kept in the game mainly because Boston left even more men on base. Up 4-2 in the bottom of the 6th, Janssen relieved Okha and, after surrendering a sharp singe to Willy Mo, got Mirabelli and Pedroia to pop up, then induced an easy, inning-ending grounder to shortstop....
Clayton Watch Which Royce Clayton prompty airmailed 3 feet over Jason Phillips' head to allow Lowell to score. It is bad enough carrying Royce Clayton as your 7-hitter (let's face it, an AL team with Clayton in the 7 hole can't expect to win many games) but when he is throwing away routine grounders as well, things are really bleak. Clayton did have a nice sacrifice bunt in the 8th with Hill on 2nd and no out (one of the only situations in which I like the sacrifice bunt)
Downs came in to start the 7th, newly freed from the LOOGY role, and promptly walked Ortiz on 4 pitches. He came back to get Manny looking, and then Aaron Hill made a bit of a boneheaded play on an easy grounder to second and allowed Ortiz to get into scoring position with two outs. Downs was lifted for Accardo, who got Lowell to ground to third to end the threat. Accardo stayed in for the 8th but immediately ran into trouble. He got Pena to fly out to Wells at the wall, then Mirabelli singled to center. He went 3-0 to Hinske before battling back and getting him to pop up. This kid can pitch to lefties, folks, he could be a 7th/8th inning guy. Frasor came in for the 4-out save and got Lugo to ground out to end the 8th.
In the 9th, Vernon Wells tripled to lead off the inning, and Frank Thomas, in an absolutely horrible at-bat, grounded back to the mound on a check-swing on the first pitch. Zaun put a laser back into the box, which Timlin snared, but Aaron Hill came through with a huge 2-run HR just over the monster to give the Jays a 4-run lead.
I hate to equivocate, but I have to say Waxing on the bullpen, but Waning on filling out his lineup card. I understand why he took Okha out when he did, Okha wasn't pitching very well and the Jays could really use a win, but why Phillips at 1st against a righty? And Lind was on the bench again against Wakefield. This is just getting silly. Least sensically, Stairs was allowed to bat for himself in the 8th with two on, but then was removed for Lind (who had pinch-hit for Phillips), while Overbay was put in at 1st. Is there some reason Stairs batted instead of Lyle? Lyle is not bad against lefties (.777 career OPS), and was coming in anyway, right? I liked his bullpen management, though.
Jays of the Day
I don't know what the heck Downs was doing when he walked Ortiz on 4 pitches, but his strikeout of Manny was a turning point of the game, so he, Accardo, and Frasor all deserve honourable mention. The Hurt came through in a big way, and kudos to Vernon for manufacturing the first run singlehandedly, as well as starting off the 9th with a bang, while Hill had another huge day with 4 hits, including 2 doubles and the 9th inning HR. John McDonald had 3 hits (2 doubles), not to mention several very very sharp plays in the field to earn special honourable mention, but honours must go to Hill and Hill only as JoTD. Lots of names here, I know, but that's the way to break out of a losing streak - get contributions from everyone.