Lind's power game too much for Texas
Toronto left-fielder goes deep twice on Monday night
ARLINGTON -- While his teammates raved about him, one player went so far as to call him unbelievable, Blue Jays left fielder Adam Lind stood by his locker and pretty much downplayed everything he did in a pivotal 6-3 victory over the American League West-leading Texas Rangers on Monday night.
He can't get away with it. Lind crushed two two-run home runs early in the game and the Blue Jays held on for a rare victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and ended a nine-game road losing streak.
Lind was unimpressed that the Jays' road woes are over.
"That was two weeks ago," Lind said of a brutal 0-9 road trip. "That's not even on our minds anymore."
But it was on manager Cito Gaston's mind.
"It feels good to win on the road," Gaston said. "It's really big."
Lind also wasted time trying to convince the media contingent that it wasn't a great night at the plate.
"I guess I made two good swings," he said.
They were two huge swings. Toronto came in 7-14 since 2004 in Texas. Many of the losses have been heartbreakers. Not on this night, even though the Jays did do their part to try and give it away.
Lind hammered a changeup from Rangers starter Scott Feldman that was up in the zone in the top of the second for a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, Lind did it again, taking advantage of a sinker that didn't sink and lifting it into the jet stream to left-center field for a 4-0 lead. The homers traveled a combined 810 feet.
"Both pitchers were up the in zone," Feldman said. "I'm not too good up in the zone."
Lind is proving adept at pounding mistake pitches, leading Gaston to say that he'd like to see his mostly full-time designated hitter -- this was Lind's 15th start in the outfield -- in the All-Star Game. He has 44 starts as a DH.
Lind is batting .450 in his past 10 games. He now has 11 home runs, already tying his career-high from 2007. The 25-year-old slugger is coming into his own.
"When he's locked in, he's as good as anyone I've ever seen," Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells said.
Lind said this year's success is a matter of maturing as a hitter.
"I'm putting myself in a better position," Lind said. "I'm taking more pitcher's pitches."
If Toronto is going to remain close to New York and Boston in the AL East -- the Jays remained 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees after Monday night -- they need to start stacking up road wins. Toronto's last road win before Monday came on May 10 in Oakland when the Blue Jays were still in first place.
A sloppy sixth inning almost cost Toronto the road win. Starter Casey Janssen began the inning by walking Hank Blalock and the inning unraveled from there. After Nelson Cruz singled, second baseman Aaron Hill booted David Murphy's ground ball to load the bases.
Marlon Byrd then scored Blalock on an infield single that kicked off shortstop Marco Scutaro's glove. Janssen then struck out Chris Davis, but a wild pitch on the third strike scored Cruz and ended Janssen's night.
Jason Frasor came in and was greeted by an RBI single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a line drive that got under Hill's glove. The Rangers bailed the Jays out with a botched squeeze play by rookie shortstop Elvin Andrus for the second out. Jays catcher Rod Barajas made a great hustle play by running down Byrd as he dove into third base.
"It was a pitch that should have been bunted," Barajas said. "It kind of surprised me when he missed it."
Frasor then kept the Toronto in front 4-3 when he got Andrus to fly out to end the inning.
The Rangers got the tying run on base again with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, when Gaston went to left-handed reliever Scott Downs, even with the left-handed-hitting Davis and his three strikeouts on the night coming up. Downs fell behind pinch-hitter Andruw Jones with a 3-1 count, but Jones grounded out weakly to third base to end the threat.
The Blue Jays manufactured two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. After loading the bases, Barajas popped out against Rangers reliever Darren O'Day for the first out of the inning. Scutaro then lined a single into right to make it 5-3, and Hill followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to give Toronto a three-run cushion.
"Scutaro has done a great job all year in the leadoff role," Gaston said. "I can't say enough about the kid."
Neither could just about anyone in Jays' clubhouse about Lind.
Wells, who made a terrific running catch with the tying run at the plate to end the game, said it's fun to watch Lind take his swings.
Barajas talked about the pure power to all fields that Lind possesses.
"He goes up there and he's successful without even trying," Barajas said.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.