By Bob Elliott
Around the batting cage Ryan Goins is known as GoGo.
Like the former speedy Boston Red Sox farmhand Dennis (Go-Go) Gilbert, who grew up to be a respected agent in his second career, representing the likes of George Brett, Mike Piazza, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Danny Tartabull.
When Gilbert entered negotiations with a club, salary talks would usually Go-Go ... as in up.
The Blue Jays second baseman could GoGo to his left and to his right chasing down ground balls with arms that sometimes resemble Inspector Gadget or Mark Belanger, the former Baltimore Orioles infielder.
When his team needed him most, with the most explosive offence of 2015 saw its team batting average sinking near the .200 mark, Goins slashed the ball to the fences and Goins was GoGo-ing around the bases Wednesday night at the Rogers Centre.
A pair of Goins doubles and an error were responsible for the first three Toronto runs as the Jays beat the New York Yankees 7-2 before 27,938 fans. After winning their first two games against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Jays had dropped five of six before this win to move to 4-6 on the season.
As Foster Hewitt would have said ... the final score was not indicative of the play.
“He doesn’t walk a lot of guys,” said Goins of Michael Pineda, the Yankee starter.
The Jays were clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth when Goins singled in a run to cap the four-run eighth equalling their previous scoring after the fifth inning. Coming in, the Jays had managed 27 runs in the first four innings and four the rest of the way.
To get his night started, Goins fell behind in the count 1-2 facing Pineda in the second inning, battled back to a full count and with Russell Martin on the move doubled into the right-centre.
Moments after the Yankees tied the score in the fifth, Justin Smoak worked a walk and Goins doubled off the screen in front of the left field bullpen with Smoak chugging into third. An infield error allowed Smoak to score and Goins, who alertly went to third on the grounder, “trying to set up another RBI situation for the next guy” with still none out.
And from there he scored on a double play ball.
“We don’t doubt ourselves,” Goins told reporters, “we know we can hit. People around us may have doubted us, but not the people in this room.”
In the 238th game of his career, Goins had a pair of doubles for the third time since breaking in Aug. 23, 2013. Previously, he had a pair of doubles June 12 last year in a 13-10 Toronto win at Fenway Park and May 21 at the Rogers Centre as the Jays doubled the Los Angeles Angels 8-4 last season.
IN GAME: Josh Donaldson made a highlight reel stop on an Austin Romine rocket to end the game ... The Jays quiet bats sprung to life at the sight of Ivan Nova leading New York 3-2 lead in the eighth. Donaldson and Jose Bautista hit back-to-back doubles, then Troy Tulowitzki delivered a run-scoring single to right, ending an 0-for-11 skid. Michael Saunders hit his second double of the night, Russel Martin delivered a scoring fly ball and Goins singled in the final run of the outburst ... Drew Storen allowed a solo homer to Mark Teixeira in the eighth ... Brett Cecil bounced back to pitch a 1-2-3, 16-pitch scoreless seventh. “The mechanics, when you let them get into your head it can be a funny thing,” Cecil Said. “I’ve never been a huge head case going over video. But when stuff doesn’t feel that right it’s almost a must. That’s what we did before the game. Obviously it really helped.” ... Tulowitzki bobbled a Chase Headley grounder, didn’t get flustered, recovered and flipped to Goins for the final out of the fourth.
HAPPY NIGHTS: Like Aaron Sanchez, lefty J.A. Happ had his second-straight impressive outing. Happ departed after six innings with a 3-1 lead. He allowed six singles, a double and three walks allowing one run in his 101-pitch outing (63 strikes).
Torreyes doubled inside the third base bag and Romine singled to centre off Happ to open the fifth. Happ retired Ellsbury on a soft pop up and then got Aaron Hicks to hit a roller to third. Donaldson couldn’t get the ball out of his glove and after thinking about going to second, fired to first for the out as Torreyes scored to knot the game 1-1. Happ then popped up Alex Rodriguez to end the inning.
“I critique myself pretty hard sometimes,” Happ told reporters. “To see that at the end of the game was awesome to add some more on, I’d like to get strike one a little more. But other than that I’ll take that game anytime for sure.”
TURNING TWO: Tulowitzki and Goins turned a 6-4-3 double play on a Hicks grounder in the first after Elllsbury led off the game with a single. It was only the third double play the Jays had turned this season in a small sample size. Coming into the game the Jays were tied with the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and the Philadelphia Phillies with only two each.
One of the Jays worst attempts to turn two came Sunday with Marco Estrada on the mound facing the Boston Red Sox. With one out and a man on first, he fielded a room service double play ball from Dustin Pedroia hesitated but was only able to get the out at second. Estrada was saved when Xander Bogaerts doubled into the right field corner. Bautista got rid of the ball quickly, who fired to Goins on a hop and he threw a strike to catcher Russell Martin, who tagged a sliding Pedroia for the final out.
Estrada never should have had to face Pedroia that inning. And Jays pitchers can’t expect two perfect throws to keep the opposition scoreless.