09/01/09 1:40 AM ET
Lind provides history lesson in Jays' win
Outfielder records eight RBIs, including grand slam, in slugfest
By Drew Davison / Special to MLB.com
"Do I know who ... Roy Howell is?" Lind said. He paused and then said, "No."
Well, Lind will now be linked to Howell in the Blue Jays record books after putting on a complete hitting clinic Monday night. Lind belted two home runs, including a grand slam, and finished with eight RBIs, leading the Blue Jays to an 18-10 slugfest victory over the Texas Rangers to open a four-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Lind fell one RBI shy of tying Howell for the team record. And that record goes way back. It was before the back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-93 and even further back of the first playoff appearance in 1985.
Howell drove in nine runs against the Yankees on Sept. 10, 1977, and it had been almost 32 years since anybody came close to matching that feat until Lind on Monday.
"It feels pretty good," Lind said. "I wish I knew a little more history about the Blue Jays, but it's still cool."
Said Toronto manager Cito Gaston: "It's something you don't see every night. That's the wonderful thing about baseball because every night you might see something like that. This kid is going to be a good hitter. He stays through the ball and has good patience at the plate."
Lind started his offensive onslaught by belting a grand slam to left in the fourth inning. He added a solo home run in the ninth and, later that inning, had a three-run double.
Before the game, Lind had a feeling he was in for a big night. He said his batting practice generally dictates how his game will go.
"It's always funny because when I hit good in BP, I have good games," Lind said. "Tonight, I felt good during batting practice and knew it would be a good game offensively."
Lind, of course, was the story of the game. But the Blue Jays offense simply coming to life pleased Gaston. Before the game, Gaston spent a couple of minutes bemoaning his team's lack of runs of late. After all, the offense had been virtually nonexistent the past two weeks.
So the 18 runs were a welcome sign and the most the Blue Jays have scored this season. They needed all of them, too, on a night when no lead seemed big enough.
Toronto (59-70) opened the game by scoring five runs in the first, including a three-run home run from catcher Rod Barajas. The Blue Jays kept their foot on the gas, scoring a single run in the third and four more in the fourth on Lind's grand slam. In the fifth, Barajas homered again to extend the Blue Jays lead to 11-0.
That lead, however, almost wasn't big enough. The Rangers (72-58) stormed back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring seven runs on seven hits, with three runs coming off a Nelson Cruz homer. All of the runs were charged to Blue Jays rookie Brett Cecil.
"They just started to hit the ball, and they were able to get the bat on outside pitches," said Cecil, who improved to 6-3. "I didn't think the home-run pitch [to Cruz] was a bad pitch. It was a curveball inside, and he just got the bat on it."
After the seven-run fifth, the Rangers tacked on two more in the sixth with RBI singles from Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton. Texas then cut the lead to one in the seventh, when Chris Davis belted a sacrifice fly to the center field fence.
Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells might have saved the game with a leaping catch on Davis' fly.
The Blue Jays cushioned their lead in the ninth, scoring seven runs. Fittingly, the scoring started with Lind's solo shot and ended with his three-run double. In between, there were RBI hits from Wells and Josh McDonald.
"We've been struggling so hard to score runs that if we would've walked away losing this one, it'd be a shame," Gaston said. "It was a team-win tonight, which is a lot better than a team-loss."
In the end, every Blue Jay starter scored a run and reached base. Barajas and Lind both had multi-homer games, the first time that has happened since May 30, 2006, against Boston, when Wells had three bombs and Troy Glaus had two.
Still, that doesn't compare to Lind's memorable night.
Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.