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News » Jays recover after Ryan's struggles

Jays recover after Ryan's struggles

Jays recover after Ryan's struggles
Baseball REPORTER,

It was the start that Toronto manager Cito Gaston was hoping for out of David Purcey, but the finish by closer B. J. Ryan left a lot to be desired.

In the final analysis, the Toronto Blue Jays still walked away with a harrowing 8-7 extra-innings decision over the Texas Rangers last night after blowing a seemingly comfortable four-run lead late in the game played out before only 13,090 at Rogers Centre.

Ryan served up three of the runs in a disastrous ninth inning, his second blown save in four opportunities this year.

Afterward, Gaston did not exactly dismiss the notion that he has lost confidence in his 33-year-old left-hander, who saved 32 games for the Jays a year ago.

Gaston said he is planning to get together with general manager J.P. Ricciardi to discuss the closer's struggles.

"I think it's something that we have to sit down and talk with B.J. and certainly with J.P. and see where he's coming from," Gaston said. "He's having trouble with his control to me. I don't know if he's hurting or not hurting.

"We'd certainly like to see him do a little bit better than that. That's not going to get it [done] for us."

The Blue Jays manufactured the winning run in the 11th when Vernon Wells drew a leadoff walk from Texas reliever C.J. Wilson and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by rookie Travis Snider.

After Scott Rolen was intentionally walked to set up the double play, Rangers' manager Ron Washington summoned Darren O'Day from the bullpen to face Kevin Millar.

O'Day, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets earlier in the day, only arrived in the Texas clubhouse at 9:45 p.m.

Seventy minutes later, wearing a uniform that had belonged to left-hander Kason Gabbard, now toiling in the minor leagues, O'Day found himself on the mound trying to hold off the Jays . Gabbard's name was still on the jersey.

With the Rangers' outfield drawn in, Millar came through, stroking a single to centre over the head of Marlin Byrd. Wells sauntered home with the winning run.

"Gabbard, I thought, was a left-handed pitcher and he [O'Day] came in throwing sinkerball, side-armed ... so I was a little confused a first," Millar deadpanned afterward.

With the unsightly win, the American League East-leading Jays (11-5) have squared the three-game set against Texas (6-8) at 1-1.

The rubber match will be played tonight as the Jays try to extend their record-setting start to five consecutive series wins.

Catcher Rod Barajas led the Blue Jays with two two-run homers over the wall in left field to pace the 17-hit Toronto attack.

Alex Rios, who has been mired in a season-long batting slump, also enjoyed a big game, going 4-for-6 with two runs batted in.

The Jays had constructed a 7-3 lead through six innings behind a solid outing from Purcey, who tossed 51/3 innings of seven-hit ball and only walked two.

The Rangers got one back in the eighth before the Blue Jays turned the ball over to Ryan, who has had an unsettling start to the season and whose earned-run average now stands at 11.12.

Ryan's ninth-inning misadventure began when he hit the first batter he faced, Chris Davis, and then walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia on five pitches.

Ian Kinsler then hit what appeared to be a double-play ball to shortstop Marco Scutaro. But second baseman Aaron Hill's errant throw to first allowed Davis to score all the way from second to cut the Toronto lead to 7-5.

Kinsler, who went to second on the error, stole third and then came home on an Omar Vizquel groundout before Ryan served up a solo home run to Michael Young that tied the game 7-7.

Ryan hung his head on the mound in disgust as Young made his way around the bags and later, after Ryan finally secured the third out, he was roundly booed as he made his way to the dugout.

Ryan said he could find no solace from the fact he could have got out of the inning were it not for the botched double play.

"Yeah, but you pitch yourself into that situation," Ryan said. "You hit the first guy and walk the second guy - you're just begging for trouble. It was a good win for the team, really picked you up.

"But my side was just terrible. I was brutal out there."



Notes The Toronto Blue Jays totalled 32 runs batted in through the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of the first 15 games of the regular season, leading the majors. It is quite an improvement for the Jays , who ranked 29th in that category at the end of last season (186 RBIs). ... Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay has been swinging a hot bat of late. After his first seven games of the season, Overbay was hitting .176 (3-for-17) with two RBIs. In his past five games, heading into last night, Overbay was hitting .474 (9-for-19) with two home runs and seven RBIs. ... Aaron Hill's homer Tuesday against the Texas Rangers gives him five in April - matching his career best for any month. Hill also hit five back in April of 2007.

NEXT Today, Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre, 7:07 p.m. EDT

PROBABLES Jays RHP Scott Richmond (1-0, 3.48 ERA) v. Rangers RHP Kevin Millwood (1-1, 1.17)

TV Rogers Sportsnet

Robert MacLeod

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 23, 2009

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