Blue Jays-Phillies: Rod saves the day

Ian HunterCorrespondent IJune 18, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 10: Jesse Carlson #39 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Rod Barajas #20 after defeating the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on May 10, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

In Rod We Trust, indeed.

Cito Gaston trusted Rod Barajas to come off the bench to spark some offense, and that he did. The pinch-hit solo home run by Barajas was the game winner earlier this afternoon in the Blue Jays narrow 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Barajas' home run could not have come at a better time because if the game went longer than nine innings, there might not have been any relievers left to pitch in the game. The Blue Jays literally paraded the entire bullpen out to the mound for this game; all seven relievers were used after Brad Mills got off to a bad start and had to be yanked after close to four innings of work.

As I was following the game on MLB Gameday, all I could think was "Accardo's going to have to pitch today." Turns out my instincts were correct as Cito Gaston called on Jeremy Accardo to finish the game and earn the save. It was a little scary in the bottom of the ninth, but an incredible catch by Vernon Wells kept Blue Jay killer Jason Werth off the basepaths.

To come away with the series sweep against the defending World Champions was a huge boost for the Blue Jays. Today's and Tuesday's games were both matches that could have gone either way and luckily the Jays were on the winning end of both games. Now just a single game behind the New York Yankees in the division, hopefully the Jays can build on this momentum going into Washington D.C. to face the Nationals.

Despite being the laughing stock of the MLB, the Nationals are coming off winning two straight against the Yankees. Some might say the Blue Jays are basically guaranteed to win two or even all three games in Washington, but it's been my experience you don't underestimate teams at the bottom of the division. The Nationals are just as hungry for a win as anyone else and won't concede victory no matter how bad their record is.

Now only if they could just spell their team name correctly on their jerseys.