Jays flash the bats in series finale
* All was well for Brett Lawrie and the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, as they earned their first series win over the Orioles since September of 2012 with an 11-3 win over Ubaldo Jimenez and the O's. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2015 Canadian draft list
By Bob Elliott
BALTIMORE -- As one might expect in an 11-3 win, a lot of good things happened for your Toronto Blue Jays.
Mark Buehrle had another strong outing (seven innings, one run).
Edwin Encarnacion drove in his first two runs of the season.
Colby Rasmus made a fine running grab on the track and hit a moon shot of a home run
Brett Lawrie made like Brooks Robinson one inning and Frank Robinson the next with a key home run.
The Jays took batting practice in the morning and Sunday afternoon had a season-high 17 hits.
Yet, the best thing to happen before 39,281 fans at Camden Yards?
“The squeeze ... without a doubt, it extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning,” said Adam Lind.
Now, for loyal followers of the Blue Jays, the term “squeeze” might be a foreign term from another dialect.
So an explanation is needed ...
A squeeze happens when a runner breaks from third base as the pitcher delivers the ball. If the batter gets the bunt down in fair territory, it’s an automatic run.
It’s a dangerous play too.
Miss the ball and the runner is out by three country miles at the plate.
Pop up the bunt and it’s a double play. Hang with ‘em.
And 780,000 arm-chair managers ask what dolt came up with that dumb idea anyway?
It’s the reason some teams use the word “note” as key verbal indicator from coach to base runner ... note, as in suicide note. For in baseball terms, it’s do or die.
Manager John Gibbons flashed the squeeze sign to third base coach Luis Rivera, who relayed it to Encarnacion standing on third and hitter Jonathan Diaz.
Gibbons could not remember the last time he called it. Former general manager J.P. Ricciardi and ex-manager Cito Gaston were both anti-bunting, so Gibbons' last squeeze may have been either at double-A San Antonio or a Sunday morning's grapefruit.
“Edwin may have left a little early, their guy was able to elevate the ball,” said Gibbons.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez got the ball up in the eyes of Diaz, who still was able to get the bunt down.
Diaz said “it was like ‘whew!’” on bunting the high pitch. Replays showed the eyes on the 5-foot-8 Diaz as wide as grandma’s special Sunday dinner meat platters.
“That play seemed to loosen things up, relax everyone,” said Brandon Morrow. “Then, hitters began to feed off each other.”
Lawrie made a back-handed spin-arama play to throw out Jonathan Schoop for the first out of the fifth.
“It was the same sort of play in Montreal I made off Eric Young,” said Lawrie, who cut his right elbow on the diving stop.
Hitting .091 entering the game, Lawrie homered to left with one out in the sixth.
After, Ryan Goins singled to chase Jimenez, the free-agent the Orioles signed to a four-year, $50 million US contract. By the end of the day, he was 0-3 with a 7.31 ERA.
Melky Cabrera doubled to extend his hit streak to a club record 13 games, and Rasmus hit a two-run single. Lind singled and Encarnacion followed with a two-run double to left. Encarnacion, without an RBI until Gibbons dropped him from the clean-up spot to the No. 5 hole on Sunday, had a three-hit day.
“They’re not throwing me inside any more,” said Encarnacion. “I have to make the adjustment. I try to go to right field and pop the ball up. Hitting to right, that’s not my approach. I have to take my walks like Jose Bautista.”
Bautista hit a three-run homer in the eighth, his fifth home run of the season.
On the afternoon, the Blue Jays pounded out seven extra-base hits -- three in the five-run sixth -- taking the series over the O’s, their first series win since September of 2012, a bright spot in a string of 14 losses their previous 20 games in Baltimore.
Men down: Infielder Maicer Izturis tripped going down the dugout steps on Sunday and didn’t take the field in the bottom of the first.
“It happened right after the anthem singer finished,” said Izturis, who was in the starting lineup, hitting .286 with one RBI. Izturis suffered a left knee sprain after feeling his knee pop twice and headed for an MRI exam on Monday. He was replaced in the game by Diaz ... Infielder Munenori Kawasaki will join the Jays in Minneapolis after hitting .240 with one RBI in eight games at triple-A Buffalo. The Jays think that both Ryan Goins and Diaz are better defensive shortstops than Kawasaki ... The Jays also demoted catcher Erik Kratz (.200 2-for-10, one homer, four RBIs in six games) to Buffalo ... Also recalled from Buffalo was lefty JA Happ (0-0, 1.93, one run in 4 2/3 innings in one start). Happ had been re-habbing a back injury. Since he has more than five years experience, the Jays can’t keep him at triple-A once he’s healthy and his rehab assignment is completed.
No sponge needed: The hardest thrower Dioner Navarro ever caught?
“Aroldis Chapman, he was 103 MPH last year,” said Navarro. “How hard was Buehrle throwing?”
Josh Thole, standing at a nearby locker, said he saw 85 MPH and one 86 on the board during Buehrle’s seven innings.
So, did Chapman’s changeup have more velocity than Buehrle’s fastball?
“He didn’t throw many changeups, mostly sliders,” said Navarro.