07/10/08 12:46 AM ET
Jays use seven-run fourth to outslug O's
Offense bats around in big inning, Burnett struggles late
By David Singh / MLB.com
On Tuesday, Toronto was able to stage a late comeback to overcome a four-run deficit and beat Baltimore. In Wednesday's tilt, the Blue Jays' offense displayed a confidence that seemed to carry over from the previous night, as they erupted for a season high seven runs in one inning.
"I think these guys really realize that they are certainly a better team than what they were showing in the past," said Jays (44-47) manager Cito Gaston. "I think it just breeds it. When you get a few hits, everybody wants to join the bandwagon and certainly help out.
"I think success breeds confidence."
During the fourth inning of Wednesday's affair, the Jays were able to strike for seven runs, which eclipsed the previous season-high of runs in a single inning, six, which the team accomplished four times this season.
The Jays entered the fourth trailing Baltimore, 1-0, and were able to bat around -- for a second straight game -- to push the score to 7-1. During the monstrous inning, the Jays tallied one double, one hit batter, two walks and five singles, four of which belonged to outfielders Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Shortstop David Eckstein and Rios each collected two RBIs in the frame.
During the inning, the Toronto batters also showed a certain degree of hunger as they capitalized on some breaks given to them by the Baltimore (44-45) fielders.
At one point in the inning, Rios hit a ball in the hole on the left side of the field that Baltimore third baseman Melvin Mora could not handle, allowing two runs to score. Then, the next batter, Wells, lined a ball up the middle, where a diving Brian Roberts had the ball deflect off his glove, allowing another run to score.
Both plays were shining examples of the Jays hitters continuing to put pressure on the Orioles. As well, the Jays have been finding other ways to win despite hitting the long ball. In the last two games, Toronto has scored 16 runs, none of which have come as a result of the home run.
"It's tough going out there and finding ways to win games, but that's the bottom line," said Eckstein. "It doesn't matter how it ends up. The end result is most important. Today, we were able to find a way to get another victory and that's big for this club."
The outburst of runs, though, did not allow the Jays to cruise to a victory over the Orioles. Toronto starter A.J. Burnett had dominated the Orioles over the first five frames, but right after the Jays put up their big inning, Baltimore was almost able to equal the tally, scoring six runs off the Jays right-hander to cut the score to 8-7.
Burnett (9-8) had allowed four singles and a walk to the Orioles in the sixth inning, before Adam Jones launched a 2-1 pitch from the Jays right-hander over the wall in left field for a three-run home run that brought Baltimore to within one run of Toronto.
It was really a tale of two different Burnetts in the start. He was perfect over his first three innings, yet over his last 2 1/3 frames, he allowed seven runs on seven hits.
"I just got into a little rut there," Burnett said. "I started pitching not how I normally would -- getting behind when I wasn't throwing the [curveball] for strikes. I dominated early and it got quite embarrassing towards the end."
While the Jays offense did manage to add an insurance run in the sixth with a Scott Rolen single, a trio of Toronto relievers, including closer B.J.Ryan, were able to preserve the win for Burnett.
"We got the win, that's important," said Burnett. "I don't deserve the win, but it's a good thing the offense came out. They've been swinging the bat well recently. The bullpen came in and did a good job.
"It's a big win for the ballclub, regardless."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.