Millar plays hero in 11th inning as Jays top Rangers
TORONTO -- Kevin Millar wasn't quite sure who he was facing when he stepped to the plate in the 11th inning. Once he figured it out, he drove in the winning run.
Millar's single over the drawn-in outfield scored Vernon Wells from second base, giving the Toronto Blue Jays an 8-7 victory over the Texas Rangers 8-7 on Wednesday night.
Wells walked to begin the 11th and went to second on Travis Snider's sacrifice bunt. Scott Rolen was walked intentionally and C.J. Wilson (0-2) was replaced by right-hander Darren O'Day, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets earlier in the day.
O'Day was at home in Panama City Beach, Fla., when he got a lunchtime call from his agent telling him he had been claimed by Texas. Within two hours he was on a flight to Memphis, Tenn., where he connected to Toronto.
"I got off the plane in the eighth inning and had to go through customs and all that jazz," O'Day said. "The traveling secretary was texting me back and forth. We originally planned to go to the hotel and he said 'Go to the field, we might need you.' I got here, got on a uniform and went out there."
O'Day pitched wearing Kason Gabbard's jersey because there wasn't time to get him one of his own.
"Gabbard I thought was a left-handed pitcher and he came in throwing sinkerballs, side-armed right-handed, so I was a little confused at first," Millar joked.
Texas manager Ron Washington turned to O'Day because he was "down to fumes" in his bullpen. He found the newcomer ready and eager to work -- at least once he'd been introduced to his teammates with some quick handshakes on the mound.
"He was excited," Washington said. "The first thing he said was 'Let's rumble.' It was tough that we had to bring him in that situation but that's all we had at the time. He'll be back."
O'Day didn't blame his performance on the hectic travel schedule.
"Once you get into the game situation it's your job to be a professional," O'Day said. "You've got to do what they brought me here to do. I obviously didn't get that job done."
Still, he saw the lighter side of wearing the jersey of Gabbard, a hard-throwing lefty with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"I figured I'd be throwing in the mid-90s," O'Day joked. "It felt a little weird. I didn't have the fastball I was looking for."
Toronto's Rod Barajas hit a pair of two-out, two-run homers to left, one in the second and another to almost the same spot in the fourth, the sixth multihomer game of his career. The homers were his first two of the season.
Jason Frasor (3-0) worked two scoreless innings for the victory.
Trailing 7-4, Texas tied it with a three-run ninth against struggling Toronto closer B.J. Ryan, who blew his second save. Chris Davis was hit on the wrist and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a four-pitch walk before Ian Kinsler grounded to shortstop. Aaron Hill's throwing error prevented Toronto for turning the double play, scoring Davis and sending Kinsler to second. Kinsler stole third and scored on pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton's grounder before Michael Young tied it with a solo homer to center, his fourth.
"I was terrible out there, I was brutal," Ryan said. "Not pitching ahead, not pitching aggressively, making stupid pitches at bad times, just a bad night."
Manager Cito Gaston said Ryan's future as Toronto's closer will be decided after a chat with Ryan and general manager J.P. Ricciardi.
"He's having trouble with his control to me," Gaston said. "I don't know if he's hurting or not hurting, but we'd certainly like to see him do a little bit better than that. That's not going to get it done for us."
Alex Rios had four hits for Toronto and drove in two runs with RBI singles in the fourth and sixth. Adam Lind hit an RBI single in the sixth for the Blue Jays.
Saltalamacchia hit a two-run single in the third, Young had an RBI double in the fifth and Marlon Byrd drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the eighth for Texas.
Ryan's ninth-inning struggles cost left-hander David Purcey his first win of the season. Purcey allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked a season-low two and struck out six.
Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison gave up five runs and nine hits in four innings, raising his ERA to 8.59. He walked two and struck out one.
"Things just aren't going my way right now," Harrison said.
Andruw Jones stayed in the game to run the bases after bruising his right knee when he jumped over Millar at first on an infield single in the eighth. David Murphy replaced Jones in left field in the bottom half.
Rangers reliever Willie Eyre had to leave the game midway through Barajas' at-bat in the 10th because of a tight groin. He was replaced by Wilson.
Toronto's Jose Bautista matched a career high with four hits. ... Hamilton was held out of the starting lineup after injuring his ribs crashing into the outfield wall on Tuesday. ... Texas RHP Kris Benson was placed on the 15-day DL with elbow tendinitis. RHP Scott Feldman will start in Benson's place Saturday at Baltimore. ... The Rangers moved RHP Dustin Nippert (back) from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to make room on the roster for O'Day. ... Umpire Kerwin Danley has been released from hospital after being hit in the face by a broken bat Wednesday and leaving the field on a stretcher. Danley will remain in Toronto until the symptoms of a "powerful headache" subside, crew chief Dana DeMuth said, then go to MLB's medical center in Arizona for further tests. ... Toronto Raptors forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu attended the game.
TOR Wins 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - Doug Eddings
- First Base Umpire - Hunter Wendelstedt
- Second Base Umpire - Dana Demuth
- Third Base Umpire - Todd Tichenor