A Frustrating Game All the Way Around as the Jays Drop the Rays 3-2
May 4, 2011
v. Toronto Blue Jays
W: Brandon Morrow (1-1) 3.06 ERA
L: Jeff Niemann (1-4) 5.74 ERA
S: Frank Francisco (1) 2.84 ERA
The Blue Jays took a quick lead tonight against Jeff Niemann when Adam Lind hit a two run homer to right. Rays’ nemesis Brandon Morrow was back on the mound today for the Jays. He was merely good enough. Johnny Damon helped out Morrow tonight with some uncharacteristically bad baserunning. In the first, he was thrown out at second trying to advance on an errant pitch. In the fourth, he was thrown out with one out at home trying to score on an Evan Longoria double.
The score was 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh when the game got ugly. Morrow was getting close to 100 pitches, so the Rays almost had him out of the game. After a John Jaso single put runners on first and second with one out, he was replaced. During the break Jay’s manager John Farrell was tossed by homeplate umpire Chad Fairchild for arguing balls and strikes.
Sam Fuld stepped up to the plate against the new pitcher Jason Frasor. Fuld bounced a ball to third. A force out was made at third and the throw to first to complete the double play was ruled to be late. But then, inexplicably, first base umpire Joe West asked for help. The call was reversed. Joe Maddon came out to get ejected and West complied. Maddon had a fair point. How can an umpire call a runner safe and then reverse the call based on another umpire’s judgement who was 90 feet away?
The score was still 3-1 in the ninth when Frank Francisco was brought in to close the game. B.J. Upton was the first batter, having already struck out three times. With a strike on him, Upton took another strike that he thought was a few pitches outside. Upton stayed calm, but when a pitch came a few inches off the plate inside and Upton was called out, B.J. went ballistic. He was instantly thrown out by Fairchild, but had to be forcibly removed by Rays’ coaches. Hopefully his outburst doesn’t earn him a suspension.
If Farrell’s ejection served to open up Fairchild’s strike zone, then Upton’s ejection closed it right back up again. The Rays were able to make a comeback because the zone was suddenly the size of a postage stamp. Both Casey Kotchman and Jaso walked. Fuld bounced a grounder through first and second to score a run, but Ben Zobrist bounced out to first to end the game.
The ejections and bad baserunning overshadowed the pitching efforts of Andy Sonnanstine. Niemann was removed after four innings and took the mound and went three innings, allowing only one hit.
Player of the Game: Adam Lind – four for four with the game-winning homer