Toronto Blue Jays-Tampa Bay Rays: AJ Burnett Is Unable To Hold On To Late Lead

Adam GreuelSenior Analyst IJuly 18, 2008

Just one pitch came between A.J. Burnett and the victory he was desperately looking for.

With Adam Lind putting the Blue Jays on top in the third inning with a solo home run, Burnett appeared to be cruising along. He was well on his way to earning his 11th victory of the season.

However, Rays number nine hitter Ben Zobrist had his own plans for this game.

After Burnett walked Erik Hinske on a 3-2 curve ball (it appeared that Hinske may have gone around on the pitch), he served up a big juicy fastball right in Zobrist's comfort zone.

That was Burnett's one and only mistake all day, and because of the Jays ineptitude at the plate, it ultimately cost him the game. He would pitch seven strong innings, only giving up those two runs, but his record dropped to 10-9.

The Jays did have one more chance to redeem themselves in the eighth inning. A two-base error by the previously mentioned Zobrist put Adam Lind on second base with none out. Joe Inglett did his job perfectly when he managed to move Lind 90 feet closer to home plate after a sacrifice bunt.

Unfortunately, as has been the case for most of the season, the Jays would fail to capitalize on this golden opportunity. Marco Scutaro followed with a ground out to the first basemen, while Alex Rios struck out.

James Shields, Burnett's counterpart on the mound tonight, proved to be a solid pitcher as he went seven strong innings as well but only giving up one run on the home run by Adam Lind. This victory ran Shields record up to 8-6.

Jays News and Notes: Pitcher Shaun Marcum had a successful rehab start on Thursday and is expected back on Tuesday. This is great news as fellow pitcher Dustin McGowan is also injured and Marcum is fifth in ERA in the entire MLB.

McGowan has to wait two more weeks so he can be re-evaluated by Dr. Kremchek. He has been out since July 9 with a sore shoulder and Dr. Kremchek wants the injury to heal a little more. Lefty John Parrish will replace McGowan in the rotation, but the Jays wont hesitate to call up David Purcey if Parrish falters.

Aaron Hill, out since May 29 after colliding with teammate David Eckstein and suffering a concussion, is still hurting. It's a complete mystery as to when he will return. He may be out for the remainder of the season.