When things couldn’t possibly get any worse - they did. As if losing ace pitcher Roy Halladay wasn’t enough, the Toronto Blue Jays suffered two key losses in Sunday’s game against the Royals. Ted Lilly, who had won seven of his previous nine starts, lasted only four innings before succumbing to the pain in his throwing shoulder. Then, in the fifth inning, Vernon Wells fouled a ball off his left shin before striking out, having to be replaced by Alexis Rios in the lineup.
The injury bug couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Jays who are looking to keep pace in the America League East. With Baltimore, Boston and New York facing stiffer competition, Toronto can ill afford to squander any opportunity to gain ground inside their division.
Things would look promising to begin the game as Russ Adams nearly missed a lead off home run, driving a ball to deep right field only to have it bounce off the top of the wall for a triple. Frank Catalanotto would continue his hot streak, singling home his shortstop for an early 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jays would add to their lead in the top of the fourth when Eric Hinske would take D.J. Carrasco deep to right field for a three-run blast to extend the Toronto lead to 4-0.
The aforementioned Ted Lilly would actually get off to a great start, no-hitting the Royals thru the first three innings but would falter in the fourth, yielding an RBI single to Matt Stairs, a two-run home run to Angel Berroa and a run-scoring single to Chip Ambres, all with two outs, to erase the lead, knotting things up at four.
Chad Gaudin would take over in the fifth for Lilly and immediately run into trouble by walking the lead off batter Alberto Castillo, who would come around to score on a Joe McEwing double to left. Emil Brown would bring McEwing home with a single to give the Royals a 6-4 lead.
Jason Frasor and Scott Schoeneweis would then come in to give their team a chance to catch up, tossing two and one-third innings of scoreless relief.
Toronto would score a run in the ninth off closer Mike MacDougal but Shea Hillenbrand would ground into a double play to end the game.
D.J. Carrasco (5-4) would pitch six innings, allowing four runs on six hits for the victory, his fifth of the season. Chad Gaudin (1-3) would be tagged with the loss after giving up two runs on four hits in his one and two-third innings of work. MacDougal picks up his fifteenth save of the year.
Toronto will return home and use Monday to rest up before hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday. Gustavo Chacin (9-5), will take the ball for Toronto as he will duel with veteran left-hander Paul Byrd (9-6) of the Angels.
InsideTheDome’s Game Notes: Initial x-rays on Vernon Wells’ left shin proved negative and he is listed day-to-day…The Blue Jays will use Monday to learn more about what ails Ted Lilly’s left shoulder. The team doctor of the Kansas City Royals thought Lilly could be experiencing a bout of bicep tendonitis…On a good note, Eric Hinske is hitting the ball better this past week, and is currently riding a seven-game hit streak.