* New Blue Jays RHP Chien-Ming Wang did his job -- he gave his team a chance to win and Jose Bautista homered with two strikes in the ninth and the Jays edged the Chicago White Sox 7-5 in 10 innings. .... 2013 Canadian draft list 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors 2013 Canadians in College Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
CHICAGO -- For the 1971 Baltimore Orioles, the 1995 Atlanta Braves, or the 2010 San Francisco Giants the outing probably would have been scoffed at.
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang made his debut Tuesday night with the Blue Jays allowing 10 hits and five runs in 7 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays won when down to their final two outs in the ninth, Jose Bautista hit a game-tying homer and Rajai Davis’ bat and legs won it in the 10th, a 7-5 win over the last-place Chicago White Sox, before 20,700 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
Yet in the grand scheme of things, big picture, wise as an old boss used to say, most impressive was Wang.
He worked 7 1/3 innings ... only the fourth Blue Jays starter to work 7 1/3 or more this season.
Roughed up in fourth for four runs, he gave his team a chance to win the game.
And that’s a starter’s job whether he pitches eight scoreless with the score 1-0 game or working 6 2/3, leaving with a 6-5 lead.
“It was a gutsy outing,” said R.A. Dickey, who had two of the other three outings 7 1/3 innings or longer.
“After that rough outing he and J.P. (catcher Arencibia) changed the tempo of the game.”
The starting rotation was supposed to be the Jays strength this year.
While Neil Wagner and Juan Perez have been promoted and had success out of the bullpen, the Jays have been searching for starting help.
“We were deeper in the bullpen at Buffalo,” manager John Gibbons said before the game. “We didn’t anticipate a need for the rotation.”
Dickey is the only Jays starter to answer the bell each and every time out, so out trotter the 12th man, the 12th different starter the Jays have used: Wang, fresh from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the New York Yankees system.
“If he doesn’t have that rough fourth, he was capable of throwing a complete game the way he managed his pitch count and pounded the zone,” said reliever Steve Delebar.
Of the first 22 hitters Wang faced, 11 reached. Not so good. A start like that would have likely earned early showers for the Orioles (Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson), the Braves (Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery) or the Giants (Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner).
How did Wang last so long, allowing so many base runners?
After a 1-2-3 first, he had help from other arms as well as his own.
J.P. Arencibia blocked a ball in the dirt in the second, Dayan Viciedo took off from first and Arencibia, threw him out at second.
Wang picked off Alejandro De Aza off first to end the third.
When Tyler Flowers singled to right, Gordon Beckham tried to go to third and was nailed by the best right arm in the park, Bautista.
“I attacked the ball, came up with it clean and it looked like he took a wide turn around second,” said Bautista.
The “cliamax” of the game, according to Dickey, along with Bautista’s homer, came in the fourth. Down 5-2 Wang found himself with the bases loaded and none out.
He struck out Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, a .181 hitter but dangerous as DiMaggio against the Jays lined to shortstop Munenori Kawaski, who made a leaping grab and stepped on second ending the inning ... two outs for the price of one rocket.
The veteran found his Lake Michigan sea legs after the rocky four-run fourth and the fifth-inning jam, retiring six of the final seven he faced.
Was he spectacular? No?
Did he do his job? Yes.
“What he did was break out his splitter, he didn’t even throw it in the bullpen, he may have used it 20-25 times,” said pitching coach Pete Walker. “In his prime he was probably 90% sinkers.
“He was efficient adding the splitter.”
Wang finished strong, retiring eight of the previous nine he faced, giving way to Brett Cecil, who was lights out again retiring all five men he faced with two strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 1.59.
The Jays star search for stability has not been answered, but it’s another game done and a win. He’ll start when the Jays play the Texas Rangers Sunday in Arlington.
“We’re hoping to get 100 pitches out of him, he’s stretched out,” manager John Gibbons told reporters before the game. “Our bullpen was in rough shape on the previous road trip, we went home, got things straightened out and now we’re beleaguered again.”
Struggling to find himself after shoulder surgery, Wang threw 93 pitches, 59 for strikes, recording nine ground ball outs and said later “I’m very happy to be back and thank you to the Blue Jays for giving me the opportunity to play baseball in the major leagues.”
He drew five film crews, including Chi-Fei Fan of TVBS, some from New York, Washington and Taiwan. There were members of the print media as well to cover the big news.
Wang gave up a solo homer to Dunn in the second, a 391-foot shot to right in the second after the Jays had gone up 2-0.
With two out in the fourth Viciedo singled home a run and Connor Gillaspie followed with a three-run homer to right centre for a 5-2 lead.
Davis singled leading off the 10th, stole second, advanced on a fly ball to right and scored the winner when Hector Troncoso bounced a pitch to the screen.
Closer Casey Janssen retired Dunn, after falling behind 3-1, on a grounder with two men aboard he picked up his 13th save, this one 1-2-3-4-5.
“He’s a damage hitter,” said Janssen. “He’s a hitter that if you make a mistake with, he can crush it. You make your pitch, you have a chance to get him.”
Bautista hit a 1-2 pitch down the left field line from closer Addison Reed evening the score 5-5.
“It worked to my advantage when he threw me a slider,” said Bautista. “I wasn’t picking up his fastball that well. I faced him Monday and he was throwing harder when he was 90-91. He’s tough the way he throws across his body.
"What Wang did, keeping them right there after he gave up the home run and five runs was unbelievable," said Bautista, "clutch relief pitching from Cecil and Janssen, Rajai got two big knocks to get on base, stole a base, a bunch of people did stuff. I don’t think it was those two situations where Edwin and I drove in the runs.”
The Jays went up by two in the 10th, when Kawaski doubled into the left-field corner and third base coach Luis Rivera waved home Maicer Izturis, who collided with Flowers and the ball popped loose.
Edwin Encarnacion had the chicken wing out as he trotted around the bases in the fifth. Melky Cabrera had doubled and Encarnacion hit a 1-0 pitch to deep left cutting the Sox lead to 5-4 for his 18th homer.
Toronto scored in the first when Mark De Rosa reached on an error by Alexei Ramirez, moved to third on a Lind double, one of three hits he had one the night, and scored on a passed ball. Izturis singled home Lind for a 2-0 lead.
There were flashed of lightening in the 10th, but the real thunder was in Bautista’s bat, who hit his third homer in two games.
“I don’t worry about our record,” said Bautista. “How many wins is the first place team going to have? We don’t know. We need one more win.
“Everyone in the division could be under .500. If they below .500 we still need one more win.”
Jays starters 7 1/3 innings or more this season
May 20 vs. Rays 7-5 win, 8.0 4 3 2 4
June 5 vs. Giants 4-0 win 8.1 2 0 0 2 5
May 5 vs. Mariners 10-2 win 8.0 3 2 2 5 8
June 11, vs. White Sox 7-5 win 7.1 10 5 5 3 3