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News » Overbay joins hit parade just in time to power Jays

Overbay joins hit parade just in time to power Jays

Overbay joins hit parade just in time to power Jays
Even on a small-ball afternoon, a big Blue Jay bat made the difference.

The Jays entered yesterday's game against the Oakland A's leading the American League in batting (.307) and runs (82), but finished nine innings tied 2-2 with an A's club that had totalled only three home runs all season.

And it's not like the Jays powered their way to extra innings. Travis Snider beat out a double play to drive home their first run, and Lyle Overbay scored when Snider singled in the sixth, tying the game.

But even as pitching and defence kept the Jays competitive, they didn't win it until Overbay smashed a 12th-inning fastball over the centre-field fence.

The two-run homer was the 22nd for the Jays in 13 games. It was also the second of the season for Overbay, who had struggled to regain his timing so far after off-season hernia surgery.

"It was nice to see because he certainly hasn't been swinging (the bat) the way he likes to be swinging," said Jays manager Cito Gaston. "It was a big one."

Overbay's two hits raised his average to .290 on the young season.

The Jays' rocky beginning didn't portend a happy ending.

A forearm injury to Jesse Litsch forced 6-foot-7 southpaw Brian Tallet into the starting rotation, on a strict limit of 75 pitches, but he almost didn't survive the first batter.

A's leadoff hitter Ryan Sweeney lined Tallet's second delivery back at him, hitting the pinky finger on the pitcher's throwing hand. As Sweeney waited on third base after Tallet's throwing error, Jays coaches and trainers converged on the mound to examine the damage to Tallet's hand. They decided he could keep pitching, but with a numb left hand his first warm-up pitch after the delay sailed to the backstop.


"I expected it to be (high)," said Jays catcher Rod Barajas. "But not that high."

Gaston, meanwhile, worried about what an injury would mean for a bullpen already stretched thin by Tallet's move to the rotation.

But after Tallet regained the feeling in his fingers he cruised through four efficient innings, using just 58 pitches by the end of the fifth and retiring one batter in the sixth.

"You just gotta tough it up and give what you can for the team," said Tallet, who last started a game in August 2006. "The only way I'm helping the team is to get as deep as I can into the game."

While Tallet's sore hand isn't serious, catcher Michael Barrett's shoulder injury will sideline him for at least two weeks.

Barrett injured the shoulder Friday night when he fell on a "doughnut," a hard plastic sleeve players place over their bats as they warm up in the on-deck circle.

The play knocked Barrett from the game and yesterday the Jays placed him on the 15-day disabled list, though Gaston said the team still doesn't know how soon Barrett will be healthy enough to play.

Barrett has appeared in seven games this season, hitting .167 in 18 at-bats. He missed much of last season when he fouled a ball off his face and fractured an orbital bone.

To replace him the Jays summoned 36-year-old Raul Chavez from their farm team in Las Vegas.

Chavez said he was putting on his uniform for Friday's game in Las Vegas when his manager alerted him to Barrett's injury and told him to pack for Toronto. His flight landed at 6 a.m. and he headed straight to the ball park after clearing customs.

After spending last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chavez joined the Jays on a minor-league contract in December. He hit .348 in 23 spring training at-bats before the team optioned him to Vegas.

mcampbell @

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 20, 2009

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