Canadian fans give Brett Lawrie lift as Blue Jays beat M's: Griffin
SEATTLE-They came by the thousands down the highway from Canada dressed proudly in new swag blue to watch the Jays play the M's. It felt like an extra home game for the Jays. They sang the anthem, they chanted names, they outhustled, they out-cheered, they out-fanned the home side. The fans definitely made a difference on Monday night as the Jays beat the M's 3-1 for their second win win in a row, evening the record at three wins and three losses on this difficult west coast swing.
“I think the last road crowd I saw like that was here, last year,” third baseman Brett Lawrie, a native of Langley, B.C. said. Lawrie was 3-for-4 with a double and a triple, starting a key double play
“It's obviously a positive when the whole crowd is cheering for your team. It picked us up tonight. You could feel the energy in the building. Everyone's cheering for the Blue Jays and it's going back and forth. It's just a lot of fun to be a part of and everyone coming down from B.C. It's definitely good to have people in your corner and have everyone cheering for our team.”
Recall it was a similar scenario last season with the swarm of Jays fans at the end of July at the trade deadline. The results were different however as the M's swept the Jays accompanied by a series of unfortunate incidents. By the end of three bad losses, Jays fans were sneaking out of town. The team had pulled local hero Travis Snider from the field during an inning and traded him to Pittsburgh for Brad Lincoln. They they dealt fellow outfielder Eric Thames to the M's for Steve Delabar. And over those three days, Jose Bautista discovered his injured wrist was worse than thought and left the team.
On Monday, it was a pitchers' duel right from the start, with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey facing Japanese all-star Hisashi Iwakuma in the first of three at Safeco Field. Dickey pitched 7.2 strong innings, allowing one run on eight hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. It was Dickey's first victory in six starts, since Canada Day against the Tigers. It was his 13th quality start of the year.
“It was a beautiful challenge,” Dickey said. “This is a nice place to pitch. I'm familiar with it having played here. I had a good knuckleball out of my hand tonight. But it was certainly about Brett Lawrie. That was fun to watch. How about the triple, the double, the double-play. He was their sprakplug tonight. It was good in front of a Canadian crowd for him to do that.”
The game was runless into the bottom of the seventh, when M's first baseman Justin Smoak led off with his 11th home run of the season into the right field stands off of Dickey.
The Mariners lead did not last long Lawrie tripled to right-centre field to lead off the eighth. With one out, Jose Reyes singled to centre and the game was suddenly tied. But the Jays weren't done in the eighth. Jose Bautista singled through the left side with two out and Encarnacion walked to load the bases. Mark DeRosa, pinch-hitting for Adam Lind against lefty Oliver Perez, ripped a two-run single to left to give the Jays the lead.
“I think it's one of the beautiful fields in the league,” Dickey said, waxing poetic as he often does. “I've always enjoyed pitching here, regardless of what the results could have been. It's a nice place to pitch. It's heavy air. It smells like baseball anbd it's fun.”
The Jays have won two in a row but have not won three in a row since winning 11.