The Blue Jays got a gritty pitching performance Tuesday night from first-time starter Chien-Ming Wang and a clutch hitting performance by Jose Bautista, who slammed a game-tying homer off talented White Sox closer Addison Reed with two outs in the ninth, just inside the left-field foul pole.
But the winning run for the Jays in a much-needed 7-5 victory scored in the top of the 10th much less dramatically. With catcher J.P. Arencibia at the plate, White Sox reliever Ramon Troncoso unleashed a wild pitch that cashed Rajai Davis from third base. Davis had stolen second and advanced to third on an Adam Lind sacrifice fly. That run was followed by an insurance marker that scored when Sox catcher Tyler Flowers dropped a tag on Maicer Izturis after a double by Munenori Kawasaki.
As an old adage states, there’s no time like the present. But in the Blue Jays’ universe, it’s becoming more of a stark reality that the only time is the present in terms of climbing back towards .500. With 98 games remaining, the numbers are daunting, the percentages miniscule when it comes to this highly paid, underachieving roster nailing down a playoff berth. The players are aware.
“There’s still time,” injured shortstop Jose Reyes insisted as he packed his equipment for a rehabilitation trip to Florida. “But we need to turn it around, now, starting today. Our division is very tough. Even the other day, we win three games in a row and we don’t gain any games. If we want to go where we need to go, we need to turn it around starting tonight. It’s getting long. It’s June already.”
It was not easy. For the second night in a row, the Jays took an early two-run lead, then lost it to a White Sox team that had been struggling over the past 10 days. With Wang, the freshly signed right-hander, on the mound, the Jays were on the way to dropping a second straight game at U.S. Cellular Field, before the fireworks and heroics of the ninth and 10th innings.
The Jays took the early lead on some aggressive baserunning by veteran Mark DeRosa, who scored on a short passed ball by Flowers. Izturis drove in the second run with a single.
However, after Adam Dunn narrowed the gap with a solo homer in the second, the Sox exploded for four in the fourth inning against Wang. Dayan Viciedo tied it with a line-drive single to centre and Conor Gillaspie followed with a three-run homer to right for the 5-2 lead. The Jays narrowed the deficit to a run in the fifth on a two-run homer by Edwin Encarnacion, his 18th of the season.