The Blue Jays rallied from two runs down against the major league leader in saves to send Tuesday’s game to extra innings and then pulled out a 6-5 win, their biggest of the season.
Travis Snider, who needed a hit as much as Charlie Sheen, ripped a 1-0 fastball to the right-field gap off of Ivan “No Need to Call Me Super” Nova, scoring Edwin Encarnacion from first base with the winning run. J.P. Arencibia joined the mob as the Jays congratulated Snider as if he had just lost his virginity. It wasn’t far from the case. Snider had been down-right impotent, going 0-for-6 and seeing his batting average plummet to the level of Kate Moss’s weight. But the double in the 10th inning erases a lot of the sting of failure for the leftfielder.
While that’s great for Snider, it was the ninth that the Jays will be happiest about. Mo Rivera entered the game 7-for-7 in save opportunities without allowing an earned run. The Jays (8-9) trailed 5-3 but got to him right away as Yunel Escobar doubled to center field and moved to third on an out by Snider. Escobar scored on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Jose Bautista. Adam Lind followed that walk with a liner into right field that put Bautista on third.
Then it got fun.
John McDonald, who may never bat fifth again all season, laid down a beautiful bunt along the first-base line. Bautista dashed home from third and slid across home plate safely with the tying run as Toronto executed a perfect squeeze play. (McDonald was hitting fifth after replacing Aaron Hill as a pinch-runner; Hill left with a leg injury in the sixth.) The Jays loaded the bases but couldn’t push across the winning run.
Rivera was spent, though, and the Yankees (9-6) had to turn to Nova after Jon Rauch (1-1) pitched a scoreless 10th. Nova’s control is shaky and the Jays got to him immediately when Encarnacion singled leading off. The next two batters — Jayson Nix and Escobar — flied out deep to the outfield. Then Snider came up and delivered a big two-out hit as the Jays ended a three-game skid and returned home with a flourish.
They try to do it again Wednesday at the ‘Dome (7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet): Bartolo Colon (0-1, 3.97 ERA) at Brett Cecil (1-1, 6.19 ERA).
Arencibia sat this one out. He’ll be back in the lineup as the Jays close out the two-game series against the hated Yanks. It’s 4/20, so maybe they’ll smoke ’em.
Days 18: No post, they lost again
Days 15-17: Running on empty
Days 13-14: AL Beast Mode
Days 11-12: Swinging and missing
Days 7-10: Not going to Disney World
Day 6: Running and gunning
Day 5: OK, Blue Jays
Day 4: No post (off-day)
Day 3: Rope burn
Day 2: Call him Johnny Bench
Day 1: Opening Day hero
J.P. Arencibia 2011 Season Stats:
*The Daily J.P. Arencibia to Cooperstown Watch predicts the Miami-born Blue Jay will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2033, after a 17-plus-year career spent entirely in Toronto, except for a brief stint with his hometown Florida Marlins that goes awry when he realizes the benefit of the American League’s DH rule for guys like him and the value of the Canadian dollar that will be worth twice as much as the greenback by the quarter-century mark. He belts 440 home runs, evoking Toronto’s latitude (44 degrees north) and tops the homer record for a catcher by roughly 50. He also becomes the first Toronto celebrity to have an entire sorority house at U of T named after him for reasons we will leave to your imagination and captures three MVP awards, two World Series rings and the hearts of more than a few aging Justin Bieber fans, and inspires a good number of fantasy baseball geeks that it’s okay to have a crush on a guy.