Two for the show: Arencibia, Davis each go deep twice as Blue Jays hammer Mets
TORONTO - What a difference a week an a half made for J.P. Arencibia.
Lifted at a critical moment in favour of a pinch hitter just 11 days ago, the Toronto Blue Jays catcher has responded with some impressive power numbers.
Arencibia did it again Friday, belting two home runs and adding a career-high six RBIs as the Jays demolished the New York Mets 14-5 to open their 2012 interleague schedule.
While Arencibia downplayed any talk of trying to prove manager John Farrell wrong, the numbers don't lie.
"My job is to control what I can control and that's going out there and trying to help the team win every day. I'm not trying to prove anything," said Arencibia, who has four home runs in his last three games and five long balls in his last eight. "I had been hitting the ball well for quite some time before that so I think it's about being able to go out there and stay consistent with it.
"I always talk about not worrying about my average. Not worried about those things. I want to drive in runs. I'm a guy that drives in runs."
But Arencibia, who now has seven home runs on the year, said after Toronto's 7-3 loss in Oakland on May 8 that he was caught off guard when Farrell sat him down.
Arencibia, who was 17-for-48 in the 15 games before that contest, is 10-for-32 since being pulled against the A's, including five home runs.
"In that game there was a matchup that I felt we needed manufacture an extra run," Farrell said Friday. "It was by no means a signal from me that there isn't confidence in him."
Rajai Davis, with his first two home runs of the season, and Yan Gomes, with the first of his career, also went deep as Toronto belted a season-high five homers to win a third straight game.
It was Davis' first multi-home run game of his career.
"I was in Little League," Davis said of the last time he went deep twice. "One went in a tree, one guy dropped it over the fence."
Gomes, the first Brazilian to play in the majors, said he was thinking about his parents as he rounded the bases in just his second game.
"It was a great feeling," he said. "I'm sure they will be very happy."
Jays ace Ricky Romero bounced back from his first loss of the season with a strong outing, allowing one run on three hits to go along with six strikeouts and four walks over six innings to pick up his fifth win.
Romero, who walked five in each of his last two starts, has been struggling with his control recently.
"I'm a work in progress right now but I finished on a good note," Romero said. "Walks are going to happen. I'm not happy about them and at any time those walks can hurt you."
The Jays (22-17) got to Mets starter Jon Niese early and often. After Kelly Johnson walked and Yunel Escobar singled to right in the bottom of the first, Niese stuck out Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. But Arencibia stepped up and lined a 2-0 fastball to left for a 3-0 lead.
New York (21-18) got one run back in the second, but Gomes lined the first pitch from Niese in the bottom of the inning into the first row in left-centre for the first home run of his career. Johnson then walked, stole second and scored on a Bautista single to left.
Arencibia led off the third with a home run to centre field before Davis added his first of the season with Eric Thames aboard on a ball that bounced off the top of the left-field fence and over to make it 8-1.
"Lately I've been swinging the bat well, I feel like, for the last month," Arencibia said. "I'm just trying to get back comfortable and being ready on time and seeing the pitch. I've been seeing the ball pretty well so it's just working for me right now."
Niese completed the inning but didn't come out for the fourth, giving up eight runs on eight hits while striking out six and walking four.
"Oh man, just a rough one," Niese said. "It seemed like every pitch I threw that they hit, they just barrelled it up and got it up and it just flew out.
"I gave up four home runs, I've never done that before."
Davis added his second homer of the night off Mets reliever Manny Acosta with Gomes aboard in the fifth to stretch Toronto's lead to 10-1.
Arencibia came up with the bases loaded against New York's Ramon Ramirez in the sixth and delivered an RBI single to centre that scored Escobar and Bautista. Thames then joined the party with an RBI single that scored Encarnacion, and Gomes added a sacrifice fly to score Arencibia and make it 14-1.
Romero surrendered a leadoff walk to Daniel Murphy and a double by Scott Hairston in the second to put runners at second and third with none out. Murphy would eventually come around to score to make it 3-1.
Romero, who issued leadoff walks in three of his six innings of work, also got out of a jam with runners at first and second in the fourth, getting Rob Johnson to hit into a forceout at third.
"I really felt Ricky settled into a better position today. Better timing with his delivery," Farrell said. "I'm sure he'd like to take away some of those walks but still a very effective and clean six innings of work.
Carlos Villaneuva pitched a scoreless seventh for the Jays, but Evan Crawford got into trouble in the eighth before leaving with a back injury. Luis Perez gave up one run on a bases loaded fielder's choice to Murphy and Hairston belted a three-run shot to right to cut the Toronto lead to 14-5.
Rob Johnson, who started at catcher for the Mets, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for New York.
Notes: Mets third baseman David Wright, who was replaced in the field in the sixth inning, went 1-for-3 to see his major-league batting average dip two points to .409. ... Arencibia has three home runs in his last two games. ... Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie sat out the second game of his four-game suspension for throwing his batting helmet that bounced up and hit umpire Bill Miller on Wednesday night. Lawrie initially appealed the ban, but began serving the suspension on Thursday night, a 4-1 Toronto victory over the New York Yankees. ... The Blue Jays improved to 124-142 all-time in interleague play, while the Mets dropped to 127-121 against American League opponents. ... Attendance was 26,712. ... Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall met with some of the Blue Jays in the locker-room after the game.
Last changed: May 19. 2012 12:33AM