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Jays Jump Out Early, Take Rubber Game: Jays 7, Oakland 2

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The Jays beat Oakland this afternoon, 7-2, to take the series, with a strong team effort.

On the MoundRicky Romero had some trouble locating his secondary pitches today, but he got some strikeouts with his fastball and battled, though admittedly against a less than stellar Oakland offense.  With a better offensive team today, the game could have looked different.  That said, Romero did a very nice job, going 7 strong and striking out 5 while walking 1 and giving up 8 hits - 5 singles and 3 doubles - and both Oakland runs.  He did more than enough to put the Jays in the driver's seat today.

At the Plate:  The Jays jumped out first thing - right in the top of the first inning.  Jose Bautista (1-4 with a walk) drew the leadoff walk and Aaron Hill rocketed a Vin Mazzaro pitch over the left field fence to give Toronto the quick lead.  Adam Lind, Lyle Overbay, and Vernon Wells all reached base and Alex Rios cashed them all with a 3-run, bases-loaded double before Mazzaro ever recorded an out.  The Jays had plenty of chances for the rest of the game, but scored just two runs - one on an Adam Lind 2-strike RBI single he pushed through the infield, and one on a Rod Barajas line-drive home run.  New guy Edwin Encarnacion (0-4, 2Ks) looked like he was pressing just a bit at the plate. 

From the Bullpen:  New guy, Josh Roenicke, however, showed no jitters in his Jays debut.  Roenicke came in and got Kurt Suzuki to ground out, then struck out Scott Hairston, using his mid-90s fastball to set up his cutter/slider (he grips it like a cutter but it moves like a slider), a very good-looking pitch with a lot of movement.  He lost the patient Jack Cust on a 3-2 count, but came back to strike out Tommy Everidge on the same pitch.  He looks like a credible late-inning option to me.  Not to be outdone, Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth and looked extremely sharp, striking out Bobby Crosby, getting Mark Ellis to pop up, and and retiring Cliff Pennington on a groundout for a 1-2-3 ninth. 

Overall, it was great to see the Jays win the road series, something they hadn't done since mid-June.  Ricky Romero did a nice job and put himself atop all AL Rookies in both wins (10) and strikeouts (87).  And although I don't have an "in the field" section (maybe I should), John McDonald (1-4 with a line-drive double) had a sparkling defensive play to set up an inning-ending double play and looked very at home at shortstop the entire game. 

Jays of the day: Aaron Hill, Ricky Romero, and Adam Lind.  Honourable mention to Josh Roenicke for an impressive debut and especially to Alex Rios, who dragged down what looked like a sure JotD performance with a couple of pop ups with runners in scoring position and less than two outs.  No suckage awards, which is the way it should be.  The Jays have the day off tomorrow before starting a 2-game midweek series at home against the New York Yankees, which will begin 14 straight games against AL East opponents.  Buckle up, B^3 ers.