And pitch 121 was a strike. And it was good.
Jo-Jo Reyes provided the 12,902 of us at the ‘Dome one of the biggest thrills of the season on Monday night when he gave infamy the middle finger and the Cleveland Indians the best of his left arm. The previously snake-bitten and winless lefthander threw a (dare we say) Roy Halladay-esque complete game, allowing one run on eight hits in an 11-1 victory over the American League-leading Cleveland Indians.
Reyes snapped a winless streak that dated 28 outings and nearly three years. It was his first victory since June 13, 2008, and helped him avoid becoming the biggest consecutive loser in baseball history. Reyes had tied the MLB record for longest winless streak with Oakland’s Matt Keough in 1978-79 and Cliff Curtis of the Boston Braves (1910-11).
On Monday, Reyes (1-4) and the Jays didn’t leave the result in doubt. A two-run homer from Jayson Nix in the third preceded a seven-run fourth inning highlighted by a two-run double from Rajai Davis and a bizarre fielding error from Indians second baseman Orlando Cabrera that allowed two runners to score.
By the ninth inning, with Reyes still on the mound, all of us stood and chanted his name, urging him to put a nail in the coffin of his atrocious streak. He fanned Jack Hannahan for his eighth strikeout of the game amid chants of “Jo-Jo, Jo-Jo!”
“Everybody talks about getting the win but people don’t realize that he’s been out there and he’s been pitching great for us. Having quality starts and giving us opportunities [to win],” J.P. Arencibia said after the game. “That last inning was pretty special for all those people to really get behind him.”
Arencibia was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, raising his average to .259.
TUESDAY: Mitch Talbot (1-1, 5.87 ERA) at Brandon Morrow (2-2, 4.38 ERA), 7 p.m., Sportsnet.
2011 J.P. Arencibia Statistics
Games 51-53: No posts (working on a book; but they won 3 of 4 from ChiSox)
Game 50: Throwing it all away
Game 49: No Post (Jo-Jo lost again, what’s there to say?)
Game 48: Well, that sucked
Game 47: Kings of New York
Game 46: A bomb, a bummer and the Bombers
Games 44 & 45: Apocalypse Not
Game 43: Win one for Ryley
The first DJPATCW: Opening Day Hero