Blue Jays 6, Twins 1
He gave them—and the frustrated Minnesota Twins—a good look at his talent on Monday night.
Lilly tossed a two-hitter, giving Toronto’s struggling starters a big boost in a 6-1 victory over Minnesota.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t won more games in his career with the stuff he has,” Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. “I think his stuff is that good. I really do.”
Lilly, who is 23-26 in 100 career apperances, came to Toronto in a trade for outfielder Bobby Kielty after spending last season in Oakland. The left-hander pitched his third complete game, his best outing since throwing a one-hit shutout for the Yankees at Seattle on April 27, 2002.
“It feels good to be out there,” said Lilly, who lowered his ERA from 6.19 to 4.32. “I’m glad I got the chance to stretch it out a little bit.”
Orlando Hudson had three hits, including two of Toronto’s six doubles, and Josh Phelps hit a two-run double in the sixth inning. Every Blue Jays starter reached base, and four had at least two hits as Toronto ran its season-long winning streak to three.
But Lilly (1-2) had the best night—striking out eight, walking two and beating Brad Radke with solid command of all four pitches. Lilly, who became the first pitcher in Toronto’s rotation to win this year other than AL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, threw 78 of 125 pitches for strikes.
“It’s definitely nice to get that out of the way and help our club get locked in,” said Lilly, who retired 20 of 21 batters during one stretch. “We have a lot of talent. We expect to win a lot of games this year.”
It was Lilly’s first complete game since June 22, 2002, with the Yankees at San Diego.
Michael Cuddyer spoiled Lilly’s shutout bid on the first pitch of the sixth with his first home run of the season. Cristian Guzman’s bloop single to shallow right in the first was the only other hit, and Lilly faced the minimum through five.
Lilly stands on the far left edge of the rubber and brings his arm across his body with a deceptive motion.
“He didn’t give us many pitches to hit,” Minnesota’s Lew Ford said. “Look at the scoreboard. He did the job.”
Catcher Greg Myers, the only Blue Jays batter without a hit, severely sprained his left ankle rounding third base on Hudson’s hit and left the field on a cart.
“When you get a win and you lose a teammate, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Hinske said.
Radke (2-2) yielded 10 hits and four runs in seven innings, striking out three without a walk. The veteran right-hander, normally as low-key as they come, was irate at plate umpire Gerry Davis’ calls.
“I thought I threw the ball pretty good … it’s pretty hard to throw when there’s no strike zone,” Radke said before cutting his comments short.
The first inning is usually Radke’s worst, but he escaped unscathed. It was the third when he ran into trouble—three doubles in a span of four batters gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
Toronto, which scored a season-high 15 runs against Baltimore on Sunday, added two more in the sixth with three hard-hit balls. Catalanotto singled, Carlos Delgado doubled and Phelps knocked them both in with a double to the gap in right-center.
“We’re starting to show what kind of offensive team we can be,” Toscasaid.
Delgado, who went 7-for-12 in a weekend series at Baltimore, has an extra-base hit in his last six games. … Opponents are batting .400 (8-for-20) in the first inning against Radke this year. … Twins 2B Luis Rivas is hitless in his last 19 at-bats. He did make a sharp throw to start a 4-6-3 double play with Guzman in the fourth. … The Blue Jays are 6-4 on the road but 1-8 athome.