Jays – Close but no cigar

JAYS 5 – WHITE SOX 7

    The Blue Jays waited a little too long to get their high powered offense rolling on Sunday and it cost them a victory. Ty Taubenheim(0-2, 7.56) struggled to find the strike zone early and the result was 4 runs and 4 walks in 2.1 innings of work. After pulling Taubenheim the Jays had a 5-1 deficit to crawl back from.

    Toronto went to work on White Sox pitcher Jon Garland(4-2, 6.25) in the bottom of the sixth when Troy Glaus hit a 2-run HR to cut the lead to 6-3. Lyle Overbay followed Glaus with a solo HR, his second of the game and all of sudden it was a 6-4 game in the top of the 7th. The Jays added a run in seventh when Luis Figueroa hit a double down the first base line for his first Major Leauge basehit. Figueroa moved up to third on a wild pitch and was driven home on a fielders choice by Frank Catalanotto. In the end, it was too little, too late for the Blue Jays as a late homerun by Rob Mackowiak sealed the deal for the Chicago White Sox.

    The Blue Jays will now take on the AL East leading Boston Red Sox in a 3-game series at the Rogers Center. The Jays will be looking to close the gap on the Red Sox lead in the division. Toronto will be sending Roy Halladay(6-1, 2.77) to the mound to face Boston’s Matt Clement(4-4, 6.31) in the first game of the series on Monday night.

JAYS PLAYER OF THE GAME
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2 for 3, 2 RBI, 2 HR

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Overbay’s 2 HR
Figueroa’s first MLB hit
Glaus and Overbay go back-to-back

NEXT GAME
05/29/06 vs. Red Sox

Get out the brooms!

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    For the second straight series, Toronto has the opportunity to do something they have not done since July of last year – sweep a series. The Blue Jays will send rookie Ty Taubenheim(0-1, 4.50) to the mound against White Sox pitcher Jon Garland(3-2, 6.12) to try and close out this series. A win by the Blue Jays today will set up a 1st place deciding series with the Boston Red Sox.

    Alex Rios looks to extend his career best hitting streak to 14 games and continue his great month of May where he has hit .351 with 4 HRs and 17 RBI’s. Shea Hillenbrand has also been hitting the ball extremely well this month, posting a .351 AVG with 4 HR’s and 11 RBI’s.

    No word as to whether John McDonald will start at short today after pulling a groin muscle in yesterday’s 11-inning win over the White Sox. If McDonald is unable to go, then the Jays will start minor league veteran Luis Figueroa. In other injury news, while doing an interview with Rogers Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell, J.P. Ricciardi said that A.J. Burnett is still atleast 3 weeks away from returning.

Hillenbrand wins it with a walk-off HR

JAYS 3 – WHITE SOX 2

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    Cassey Janssen(3-3, 3.25) and Jose Contreras(5-0, 1.83) locked horns today in a pitching duel that lasted until the 6th inning when Janssen was pulled from the game. Janssen pitched 5.1 innings giving up 7 hits, 1 ER and striking out 3, while his counterpart Contreras, pitched 7 innings giving up 5 hits, 1 ER and struck out 3.

    The White Sox and Jays were locked in a 1-1 tie until the bottom of the 8th inning when Frank Catalanotto came up with a huge double to the left field corner to drive in Aaron Hill, which gave the Jays a 2-1 lead. On came B.J. Ryan in the bottom of the 9th to close out the game and get his 12th straight save, but it was not to be, as Joe Crede hit a double to lead off the inning and was driven in by Juan Uribe. This was Ryans first blown save of the season and pushed the game to extra-innings.

    On to the bottom of the 11th inning now and up steps Shea Hillendbrand who apparently had a hot date tonight, as he took a Jeff Nelson slider that was left over the plate into deep left field to win the game with a walk-off HR. As a side note, shortstop John McDonald left the game in the 8th inning after a sacrifice bunt, no word as to what the injury was.

JAYS PLAYER OF THE GAME
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   2 for 5, HR

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Hillenbrands Walkoff HR
McDonalds Great Defense

NEXT GAME
05/28/06 vs. White Sox

Jays flex their muscles against defending champs

JAYS 8 – WHITE SOX 2

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    The Jays came out swinging in their first of 3 games against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. Toronto, fresh off of the demotions of some of the cancerous players that plauged them in their losses this season, made a definitive statement to the defending World Series champions – "We can hit the ball too"

    Led by the power threesome of Glaus, Wells and Rios, the Jays belted out 4 HR’s against the near perfect Freddy Garcia(7-2, 4.31). Alex Rios started the bash-fest in the 1st inning with a solo shot on the second pitch of the game. Wells hit a 2-run HR in the 3rd and Glaus hit a monsterous shot to center field in the 5th inning. Ted Lilly(5-4, 4.00) pitched well, striking out 7 and only allowing 2 ER on his way to his 5 victory of the season.

    In a surprising move, manager John Gibbons decided to play Glaus at SS so he could get more power in the lineup. Gibbons said that it wouldn’t be a permanent thing, but that he wanted as much power in the lineup as he could to face the defending World Series champions. Glaus will likely move back to third this afternoon and John McDonald will play short.

    The Jays will look to make it 2 straight, as they send rookie Cassey Janssen(3.3, 3.46) to the mound against another very good White Sox pitcher in Jose Contreras(5-0, 1.90) who is sporting a sparkling ERA thus far.

JAYS PLAYER OF THE GAME
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3 for 5, HR, RBI

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Rios’ Solo HR
Wells 2-run HR
Glaus Monster Shot
Johnson’s HR
Lilly’s impressive performance

NEXT GAME
5/27/06 vs. White Sox

Jays Sign Edgardo Alfonzo

   

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    The Toronto Blue Jay’s signed veteran infielder Edgardo Alfonzo to a minor league contract today. Alfonzo who most recently played with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was signed after being released on May 20, 2006 by the Angels. Alfonzo will report to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats(AA) on Friday, May 26.

Burnett to start throwing off the mound

   

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    A.J. Burnett will start throw off a mound on Monday the first time since re-injuring his elbow in a start against the Red Sox on April 21. Burnett has been participating in some long-toss for the last couple weeks has been throwing from 120 feet. Although no timetable has been mentioned for his return, this news will come as a relief to Jays fans as Toronto’s pitching staff has been struggling lately.

Towers and Adams sent to Syracuse

Ph_346869_3    Josh Towers and Russ Adams were both sent to the minors on Wednesday night after struggling early in the season. Towers demotion may come as no surprise to fans who have been asking for this move to be made for the last month or so. After having a career year last season going 13-12 with a 3.71 ERA, Towers was given a two-year $5.2m contract in the offseason and was expected to put up similar numbers this year. Towers has not been very effective this year and the result is a trip to triple-A Syracuse.

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    The Russ Adams demotion on the other hand may come as a surprise to some fans. While everyone knows that Adams has been struggling defensively, he has been fairly consistent at the plate and has come up with some big hits in timely
situations. Ultimately though, the Jays felt that Adams’ 10 errors in 36 games was reason enough to have the youngster go down to Syracuse to clear his head. The rumour floating around is that Adams will spend some time in AAA and when he returns will play second base and Toronto will move Aaron Hill back to his natural position of SS, where he played last year.

    As for their replacements?? Well nothing has been said about the Towers situation just yet, but John Gibbons said that 32 year-old infielder Luis Figueroa will join the team and will split playing time with John McDonald. Figueroa has a steady glove and has hit .245 in 26 games this year in AAA.