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News » Litsch a casualty, but Snider's homers power Jays' win

Litsch a casualty, but Snider's homers power Jays' win

Litsch a casualty, but Snider's homers power Jays' win

The Toronto Blue Jays are off to their best start since 2005, their hitters are tearing up opposing pitchers, and the defence has come through in the clutch.

But uncertainty is beginning to form in the pitching ranks, a development that was not helped last night when an injury forced Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch from the game against the Minnesota Twins in the fourth inning.

The loss did not dampen Toronto's continued hot play as rookie Travis Snider enjoyed his first multihomer game with two as the Blue Jays (6-2) rallied from a three-run disadvantage to record an 8-6 triumph over the Twins (3-5).

The victory over Minnesota in the first of a four-game series was Toronto's 10th in a row over the Twins dating back to the 2007 season.

The win was recorded by Jason Frasor, who pitched one inning of one-hit ball in the seventh.

"We got a lot of hits there for a while, but weren't scoring any runs," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "That big home run by Snider certainly helped. And the bullpen did a good job tonight.

"We're worried about Jesse. He's going to have a [magnetic resonance imaging] there ... and we'll see what's going on with him."

The Blue Jays also got a home run from Lyle Overbay, his first of the year, as the Jays pounded out a season-high 19 hits.

With the score 6-6, Snider struck his second home run and third of the season in the eighth inning, a mammoth two-run shot that landed in the upper deck in right field, giving the Jays their winning margin.

"From an offensive standpoint, we're swinging the bat really well right now," Snider said. "And it's just one of those things, seven, eight games into it, you don't want to get too excited. But it's a good sign for us."

Litsch was hit hard from the outset, including a home run struck by Jason Kubel in Minnesota's three-run second inning that helped give the Twins a 3-1 lead.

It was the fourth home run Litsch has surrendered in his two starts this year.

In the bottom of the fourth, Litsch gave up a leadoff double to Michael Cuddyer that was followed by a run-scoring triple by Brian Buscher to make it 4-1 Twins.

After that, Litsch appeared out of sorts while working the count to 0-2 on the next batter, Delmon Young, and that brought head trainer George Poulos and Gaston from the dugout.

Moments later, Litsch made his way off the field, his night done.

After the game, Gaston said Litsch was suffering from right elbow tightness and that he would be re-evaluated this morning.

Litsch will now move to the top of Toronto's pitching concerns, alongside closer B.J. Ryan, whose mystifying inconsistencies, which surfaced during spring training, have dogged the 33-year-old into the regular season.

After turning in rocky performances in his first two outings, Ryan helped soothe the waters last night, entering the game in the ninth to preserve Toronto's two-run lead.

Although he allowed two singles, Ryan emerged unscathed to record his first save of the year.

His performance helped carve his untoward earned-run average through three appearances this year down to 13.50.

Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg has grown exasperated by all the attention the media are giving Ryan's problems.

"The thing that upsets me about these type of interviews, when was the last time ... you ever came up to me and asked me about a guy that's going well?" Arnsberg said. "It's always when somebody's back is against the wall and somebody's struggling."

In his last outing, in Cleveland on Saturday, Ryan came into the game in the ninth with Toronto leading 5-1 to give up three runs off three hits and three walks before Frasor was called upon to get to get the final out.

Arnsberg said he is as mystified as anyone as to what is bothering Ryan.

"His stuff is better," Arnsberg said. "He's just not throwing the ball over the plate as much as he'd like to. He's behind on counts and they're zeroing in on his stuff when he does throw over the plate."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 14, 2009

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