When the first inning was over, I figured it would be a pretty quick loss. A.J. Pierzynski had men at 1st and 3rd and hit a soft liner to end the threat. Edwin Jackson took the hill, and before I could get comfy, he walked Yunel Escobar, gave up a single to Corey Patterson and Jose Bautista promptly made it 3-0 with a homer to left- giving the Blue Jays 3 runs in only 3 batters.
The Sox had some fight in them though, as they immediately tied the game up in the top of the 2nd. Alex Rios led off with a double and scored on a Brent Lillibridge line shot homer to left. Brent Morel followed with a single, and after a bunt by Juan Pierre, came home on an Alexei Ramirez single.
Jackson went 3 up 3 down in the 2nd, but the success wouldn't last long. In the third the Jays got a lead off infield single by Patterson and a base hit to right by Bautista. They would both come home on a double by Aaron Hill to give Toronto a 5-3 lead.
The Sox would counter in the 5th, as Juan Pierre led off with a grounder that scooted through Hill's legs. After a Ramirez grounder, Pierre would come across on Adam Dunn's lone hit of the game- a line shot to center. Paul Konerko followed with a double down the right field line to give the Sox 2nd and 3rd. This time Pierzynski came through with a double of his own to give the Sox a 6-5 lead.
The score would hold until the bottom of the 7th inning. Jose Molina led off with a single to center. After an Edwin Encarnacion strike out and an Escobar fly out to right (that Brent Lillibridge fell down and recovered to make a great recovery), Ozzie Guillen went to the bullpen. Matt Thornton was brought in to face Corey Patterson, who was 3-3 off of Jackson. Patterson didn't treat Thornton any differently and lined a single to right. Jesse Crain was brought in to face Bautista, who ended up walking to load the bases. Juan Rivera was next up, and after a lengthy at bat, took a full count offering deep to left field. Pierre ran back, got to the wall, but didn't turn around and put his glove up as the ball hit the bottom of the wall and trickled towards Rios, allowing all 3 runners to score. It would have been a nice play if he made it- but it definitely could have been made. Crain got out of the inning by retiring Aaron Hill on a much easier fly out to Pierre.
Our old pal Octavio Dotel came on for Toronto in the top of the 8th and quickly retired Rios and Vizquel. Up stepped Lillibridge who again put a charge into one- this time to straight away center field. The ball banged off the wall and skipped past Rajai Davis as Lillibridge was motoring around 2nd base. I thought he could have had an inside the park homer, but Jeff Cox held him up at 3rd. It wouldn't matter anyway as Molina allowed a low fastball to hit his mitt and go to the backstop, scoring Lillibridge on a passed ball to make it 8-7.
After Chris Sale pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th, Frank Francisco was on to close out the Sox. Pierre led off with a fly out to right. Alexei Ramirez followed with a line shot into the right center field gap for a double. After yet another Adam Dunn strikeout, Paulie came through again as he hit a blooper that fell perfectly between Rivera, Hill and Bautista down the right field line for a run scoring double. He couldn't have thrown it any better. Konerko was lifted for pinch runner Dallas McPherson, but Pierzynski couldn't come through as he grounded to third to end the inning tied at 8.
Sale allowed a single to Escobar and a double to Bautista, but got Rivera to hit a swinging bunt to the mound to leave them at 2nd and third. After a 1-2-3 top of the 10th, Sale came back out for his 3rd inning of relief and allowed only a base on balls to Eric Thames. Hopefully this outing will give Sale some positive momentum, as he pitched 3 scoreless pressure packed innings.
In the top of the 11th, Brent Morel smoked a double to the left center field gap to lead off the inning. After a successful Juan Pierre sac bunt got him to 3rd, Alexei Ramirez was walked. Up stepped our big money free agent, Dunn, who popped up on the infield to 2nd base. Carlos Quentin came on to pinch hit for McPherson and hit a lazy fly ball to right to end the inning.
With Konerko, McPherson and Beckham (unavailable) out of the game, I wondered who would take over first. Low and behold 44 year old Omar Vizquel would move over to man first base for the first time in his storied career. He even got the third out on a grounder down the line that he flipped to Sergio Santos to complete the 1-2-3 inning.
In the top of the 12th, Rios hit a one out single and got to 2nd on a wild pitch by Luis Perez, but was stranded there after Lillibridge smacked a line shot that Davis ran down.
Santos allowed a lead off walk to Bautista to begin the bottom of the 12th, but retired the next three hitters. Santos and Sale combined for 5 scoreless innings.
After the Sox went 3 up 3 down in the top of the 13th, Gavin Floyd was called upon for the 13th. It was his first relief appearance since August 24th, 2007 in a 10-1 loss to the Red Sox. Floyd worked around a Ramirez error to get the Sox to the 14th.
In the 14th, the Sox had Dunn, Quentin, Pierzynski and Rios coming up against Perez, who was now in his 4th inning of work. Dunn grounded weakly into the shift, Quentin chopped to third and after a 2 out single by A.J., Rios flew out to end the inning.
After the 2nd 7th inning stretch of the afternoon, Corey Patterson led of the 14th with a bomb over the right field fence to give Toronto the 9-8 14 inning marathon victory.
WP- Luis Perez (1-0)
LP- Gavin Floyd (5-5)
* Perez recorded the first victory of his career.
* Adam Dunn went 0-3 against lefties and is still hitless on the season vs. southpaws.
* Brent Lillibridge now has 5 homers, the same amount as Dunn.
* Jose Bautista reached 20 homers faster than any player in Blue Jay history. The previous record was 20 in 53 games by former Sox George Bell. Bautista needed 44.
* I found Ozzie Guillen's bench usage to be strange. In the top of the 8th, with Lillibridge on third and down 2, I would have called on Quentin to pinch hit for Brent Morel. He didn't, and Morel struck out. I also found it odd that he pinch ran Dallas McPherson for Konerko in the 9th after Konerko tied the game on a double. Then he pinch hit Quentin for McPherson in the 11th (in what would have been McPherson's first plate appearance), which led to Vizquel having to play 1st base. I wouldn't have wasted McPherson like that with an already depleted bench, and I would have kept Konerko's bat in a lineup that has struggled to score runs.
24-30|9 GB| Box