Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jays find their wings

Pair of homers, shutout lead birds to second win of season

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TORONTO -- Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia enjoys belting homers, but not as much as calling a two-hit shutout.

Arencibia and Colby Rasmus both homered, four Toronto pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout while striking out 11 and the Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Saturday afternoon.

"My most exciting part of the game is guys going out there and pitching out of jams and keeping them at a zero," Arencibia said. "My job is to try and do the best to keep that zero on the scoreboard regardless of the hits or whatever they get."

Arencibia and Rasmus provided the offensive fireworks for Toronto (2-3), delighting a vocal Rogers Centre gathering of 45,797 for a Jays squad that was minus slugger Jose Bautista (ankle) for a second straight game.

Boston (3-2) won the series opener 6-4 Friday night but received a huge scare when right-hander John Lackey (0-1) came off the mound in the fifth clutching his right arm following an inside pitch to Toronto's Jose Reyes.

Lackey was making his first major league appearance since Tommy John surgery in 2011 on his right elbow and his obvious discomfort brought Red Sox manager John Farrell and the club's medical staff running in.

Lackey left with what was later diagnosed as a right biceps strain, although the severity wasn't immediately clear. He allowed five hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk while striking out eight.

"It felt like a pretty good cramp, it's all in the biceps, it wasn't the elbow," Lackey said. "A little scary when it happened, for sure.

"My hand didn't go numb or anything like I've had with the elbow stuff. I felt really good. I made one mistake. I was pounding the strike zone pretty well, had some strikeouts. The tests they ran on me here looked pretty good. Hopefully it's nothing too crazy."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Lackey will fly back to Boston Sunday to undergo an MRI.

"(The) elbow is fine, this is the belly of the belly of the biceps," Farrell said. "It's kind of an abnormal area for a guy to feel that grabbing sensation on one pitch ... the encouraging thing is as he came out of the game the soreness and the cramping feeling had subsided."

Up to that point, Farrell liked what he saw from Lackey.

Meanwhile, Toronto starter J.A. Happ (1-0) was outstanding, allowing just one hit over 5 1-3 innings with a wild pitch. He walked three and struck out six before giving way to fellow right-hander Steve Delabar with one on and one out in the sixth.

Aaron Loup and Sergio Santos worked the final two innings for the Blue Jays.

"He was throwing strikes, he was mixing it up with his changeup," Arencibia said of Happ. "He had a really good changeup, a good slider, a good breaking ball."

Happ said an effective changeup was key to his success.

"I think that's going to be a big pitch for me," he said. "I had a couple good ones today to keep them off balance, I think it makes the fastball that much better."

Toronto manager John Gibbons certainly noticed.

"Happ was dynamite," Gibbons said. "The thing that was really big for him was he started throwing his changeup a little more, it was a big pitch for him.

"You can kind of classify him as a power lefty ... he's got that fastball he can throw by you up in the zone, that's kind of his trademark. But that changeup makes that fastball even better and complements his breaking ball as well."

After surrendering a game-opening double to Jacoby Ellsbury, Happ retired seven straight batters before Pedro Ciriaco walked in the top of the third. He landed at third on a wild pitch and Arencibia's throwing error and tried scoring on Ellsbury's fielder's choice but was thrown out at the plate by Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Ellsbury stole second and Shane Victorino walked, but Happ got Dustin Pedroia to pop up and end the threat.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 7, 2013 B11

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