Lind ties Jays record for consecutive hits
Outfielder has eight straight base knocks after going 5-for-5
TORONTO -- Collecting a hit in eight consecutive trips to the plate is hard enough. If Blue Jays outfielder Adam Lind wants to establish a new franchise record with nine in a row, all the young outfielder has to do is come through in his first at-bat against Royals ace Zack Greinke on Friday night.
"Good luck, right?" said Lind, rolling his eyes with a laugh.
For now, Lind has a place alongside three others in the Blue Jays record book after achieving a difficult feat on Thursday afternoon in a 6-5 loss to the Angels. In the ninth inning, Lind sent a 1-0 slider bouncing down the right-field line for a double off Los Angeles lefty Brian Fuentes, marking the left fielder's eighth hit in as many plate appearances.
In Toronto history, that accomplishment has only been matched three times -- by Rance Mulliniks in 1984, Paul Molitor in '95 and Tony Fernandez in '99. With a hit in his first at-bat on Friday, Lind would stand alone. Fitting is the fact that Mullinicks and Fernandez will be on hand at Rogers Centre to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the stadium.
"I'm pretty sure they're pulling for him," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "I hope the first time up he gets a hit. It's nice to see him swing the bat like that."
On Thursday against the Angels, Lind finished 5-for-5 with three doubles to one-up his 3-for-4 showing a day earlier. The left-handed-hitting Lind would have to string another five hits in a row against Kansas City on Friday to best the Major League mark of 12 straight hits. The record was set by the Cubs' Johnny Kling in 1902 and matched by Boston's Pinky Higgins (1938), who walked twice during his streak, and Detroit's Walt Dropo (1952).
Over the past two games, Lind's eight consecutive hits have lifted his average from .286 to .313, and the five doubles he's tallied in that span moved him into first in the Majors with 21 two-base hits. Lind has sent all types of pitches to each part of the ballpark, too. He has four hits off fastballs, three off sliders and one off a changeup, spraying four hits to right field, three to center and one to left.
It is a remarkable streak that has impressed Lind's teammates.
"That's a tough feat to do," Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay said. "That's something that he should be proud of."
Overbay would know, considering he set a similar record last season for Toronto. From May 22-25 last year, Overbay reached base in 12 consecutive plate appearances to establish a new club standard. The Blue Jays first baseman said his feat didn't compare to what Lind is currently doing.
"That's completely different," Overbay said. "To get five hits in a game -- just to get five hits -- is pretty good. To be able to do what he's doing, we need it right now."
The current run for the 25-year-old Lind is a continuation of his recent hot streak at the plate. Over his past six games, Lind has hit at a .542 (13-for-24) clip. That follows a brutal 11-game stretch in which Lind posted a .105 (4-for-38) average, including a .114 mark during the Blue Jays' recent nine-game losing streak.
Lind said his problems began in Boston on May 19, when Toronto was shut down by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The Jays outfielder went 0-for-4 in that game, and Lind said Wakefield's signature pitch did a number on his swing. Lind noted that he was starting his swing too late and that was causing him to have trouble squaring up pitches.
"Wakefield kind of slowed my whole tempo down," Lind said. "Then, it just screwed me up for the rest of the road trip. I was just getting so late and I couldn't hit fastballs -- I kept fouling everything off. I looked at a lot of film and that's really what it came down to, was me getting ready way to0 late.
"Frustration just kicked in halfway through the road trip. I was overswinging."
That doesn't appear to be an issue at the moment.
Against Angels right-hander John Lackey on Thursday, Lind collected a pair of doubles and one single. Lind added a base hit off reliever Darren Oliver in the eighth inning and a double off Fuentes in the ninth to tie the record. When Lind strolled into the clubhouse after the game, he was unaware that he had achieved the unique feat.
The record didn't matter much to Lind, though, considering the Blue Jays lost.
"I guess I can look back one day in Indiana and tell my kids I tied a Blue Jays record," Lind said with a facetious grin. "They always get broken."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.