Bautista powers Jays over Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista hits a three run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto, June 3, 2012. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)
On a wild afternoon two things were certain:
Jose Bautista’s stroke is as powerful as ever.
And this Drew Hutchison kid?
As legendary Philadelphia Phillies scout Huey Alexander might say “let me tell you something ... he can pitch.”
Hutchison worked a Pat Hengten-like seven innings limiting the Boston Red Sox to one run in a 5-1 win before 41,925 fans at the Rogers Centre.
And Hutchison showed Hentgen spunk coming off the mound to bark at Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who screamed at Hutchison after being plunked on the shoulder in the sixth inning.
“Get it down!” Youkilis yelled.
J.P. Arencibia, wearing the catcher’s gear and a UN badge, served as a peacemaker.
“He yelled at me, I yelled back,” said Hutchison. “Juices were flowing. I’d rather not say what was said, it is was it is.”
It was a needed win for the Jays, who had dropped eight of 12 going into the finale of the Boston series.
It was a win that the Jays can thank Daniel Bard’s wildness for ... the Jays were up 5-0 on the strength of one hit: Bautista's three-run homer.
It was a win which was a result of Hutchison allowing a solo homer to Kelly Shoppach with two out in the fifth, the only run he’d allowed in his previous 14 innings. With two aboard in the same inning he popped up Adrian Gonzalez.
Hentgen, filling in as the bullpen coach for Pete Walker, whose daughter is recovering from surgery, has a comparable for Hutchison.
“When I first saw him he reminded me of Shaun Marcum, both threw in 88-91 MPH,” Hentgen said. “That’s when they were both in class-A. Drew was a former shortstop, about 160-165 lbs. Now, he’s 30 pounds heavier and he’s 94-95.
“He hit 95 more in his previous start against the Orioles, but lots of 94s.”
Hutchison has a 4.35 ERA in nine starts. Ricky Romero is third on the Jays staff at 4.04 behind Brandon Morrow (3.28) and Henderson Alvarez (3.75). Kyle Drabek has a 4.65 ERA.
And while Hutchison has made two fewer starts he’s allowed the fewest homers by any Jays starter.
OUCH!: Both Yunel Escobar and Edwin Encarnacion were hit on the hand by Bard pitches in the second. Escobar hit the dirt and stayed there.
Encarnacion who seldom shows emotion wound up 20 feet from the plate wringing his hand in pain before trainer George Poulos arrived to attend to him.
“Obviously, he’s our best hitter this year,” said Arencibia. “We don’t want to lose Edwin.”
Encarnacion leads with 17 homers and 43 RBIs and the 43rd was the most painful, as Bard hit him with the bases loaded. He went to first, but when his turn to bat came in the fifth, Jeff Mathis pinch hit.
“I have my fingers crossed, I’ll answer how I felt when we know what the X-rays tell the doctors,” said Encarnacion.
X-rays proved negative on Encarnacion’s right hand and he remains day-to-day.
Meaning of bard: We remember being told in school that a bard was a professional poet, employed by a nobleman ... not a wild man.
As Bard struggled with his control one fan yelled out “don’t be afraid to mix in a strike,” and “hire a mechanic to work on your mechanics.”
Bard faced 13 hitters and retired five, throwing 55 pitches - only 24 for strikes.
Bard walked Kelly Johnson and Escobar to open the game and Bautista homered -- his 11th since May 1. Bautista is hitting .259 with 27 RBIs after having three homers, 10 RBIs and a .187 average in the cruelest month of all.
Bard got really wild in the second: walking Colby Rasmus and Arencibia on 10 pitches, hitting Escobar, walking Bautista to drive in a run and plunking Encarnacion for another.
At one point in the second Bard was moving along at 36 per cent of his pitches for strikes.
Question: “How do you like facing a guy who throws that hard and doesn’t know where it is going?”
“How would you like to face a 95 MPH fastball,” Arencibia told reporters.
Said Bautista: “It’s a matter of picking and choosing, it’s tougher facing someone always painting the corners on you, than someone who is wild.”
Boston Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine wondered whether there was something physically wrong with Bard
“I asked him and he said he wishes there was, but there wasn’t,” Valentine told reporters.
Memories of Mike: Watching Youkilis play third base reminds me of Mike Scioscia blocking the plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers. No one was better ... Youkilis blocked the bag on Brett Lawrie’s ill-advised attempt to steal third with two out - with left-handed hitter David Cooper at the plate - on Saturday. And Sunday he took an off-balance drive from left fielder Daniel Nava and dove to tag Cooper attempting to stretch his drive off the left-field wall into a triple ... Said Arencibia, Youkilis’s usher to first base: “I can’t say what that conversation was about, sometimes there are hot heads on both sides, it’s my job to stick up for my pitcher or any of my teammates.”