If J.P. Arencibia never gets to the Baseball Hall of Fame he might have a shot at becoming a legend of golf. That is if his first career MLB grand slam is any indication of his golfing prowess. The Jays’ rookie catcher walloped a breaking ball that was just inches from his toes into the left-field seats at Camden Yards, clearing the bases in the fifth inning and giving the Jays a 7-0 lead en route to an 8-4 victory over the Orioles. Arencibia drove lefty Zach Britton’s breaking ball that looked like it was heading for the dirt over the fence and did it in a way reminiscent of a younger Tiger Woods ripping a tee shot toward a fairway at Augusta National.
Arencibia’s lone hit of Friday’s series opener turned out to deliver the winning RBI as the Jays (29-28) once again climbed over .500. After dropping two straight to Cleveland to close out a homestand at the ’Dome, Arencibia and crew needed this one. The offence was great and so was the pitching of Carlos Villanueva (3-0). He went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk, dropping his ERA to 2.72 and emerging as that critical quality bottom-of-the-rotation starter the Jays have been searching for since Todd Stottlemyre, Al Leiter and Juan Guzman shared time backing up Dave Stewart, Jack Morris and Pat Hentgen in 1993.
Ah, dem was the days.
Arencibia’s homer was his ninth, matching his uniform number, and he upped his RBI total to 30.
Saturday: Ricky Romero (5-4, 2.88 ERA) at Jake Arrieta (6-3, 4.97 ERA), 7 p.m., Sportsnet
2011 J.P. Arencibia Statistics
Games 55-56: No posts (bad, bad losses to Cleveland)
Game 54: Cy Jo-Jo?
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
Note: Copyrighted photo from earlier in the season