The Blue Jays everyone expected when the season began finally showed up in the month of June.
In June Toronto posted a 17-9 record and the 17 wins were nearly equal to the number of win the Jays posted in April and May combined. Not only did the Blue Jays record their best month of the season so far, they also put together a record-tying winning streak, played an unscheduled doubleheader and made up some ground in the AL Wild Card race.
Adam Lind continued to reach base at an outstanding rate and Edwin Encarnacion launched more moonshots. It was a slow June for Jose Bautista until the end of the month when a power surge began. Even more importantly a number of the Jays’ pitchers started to live up to the hype. R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball started to miss bats instead of being routinely deposited in the seats and the bullpen, especially Brett Cecil was often unhittable.
The injury bug also started to be exterminated, as the DL became shorter for what seems like the first time this season. Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Darren Oliver and Rajai Davis all made their return sometime in June, while the only big name to land on the DL was Melky Cabrera.
That’s a quick replay of the month, but let’s get to what you’re here for. As usual, the Top 10 moments from whatever month we’re talking about can include anything Jays whether it be a great game,a great at bat or even a great off-field moment. So, in somewhat chronological order here we go…
10. June 2 – Mark DeRosa drops a bomb on the Padres
On June 2 the Blue Jays faced the San Diego Padres. After nine innings the game was deadlocked 4-4 and headed to extra innings. After a scoreless tenth Mark DeRosa led off the 11th, facing Padres’ reliever Dale Thayer. DeRosa broke the tie by launching a bomb into deep left field. Here’s a look at that blast and what DeRosa had to say about it in the dugout.
9. June 8 – Let’s play two!
On June 8 the Blue Jays tied the longest game in franchise history in an 18-inning affair with the Texas Rangers.
In the never-ending game the Jays got on the board first with a three-spot in the third inning. With Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind aboard Colby Rasmus ripped a triple to center to score both runners. Rasmus also came in to score when the Rangers botched the throw to third.
Toronto starter Mark Buerhle cruised through the Rangers lineup until the seventh inning when Jeff Baker ended the shutout bid with a solo home run.
Heading into the ninth inning the Jays still led 3-1 with Casey Janssen coming on to lock down the save. Janssen ran into trouble and allowed a pair of runs in his first blown save of the season.
In extra innings the bullpens for both sides were impressive. For the Jays Dustin McGowan, Juan Perez, Neil Wagner, Brett Cecil, Brad Lincoln and Aaron Loup combined to pitch nine innings and allow only three hits while striking out six.
In the bottom of the 18th Emilio Bonifacio got things started for Toronto with a single to center. He would reach third base later in the inning on an error by Rangers’ pitcher Randy Wolf. Rajai Davis was the hero with a single to left that plated Bonifacio as the winning run.
In the 18 inning affair the Jays and Rangers combined for 25 hits and used 14 pitchers.
8. June 21 – Kawasaki goes yard.
Munenori Kawasaki grew into quite the fan-favorite with the Blue Jays this season. His infectious personality as evident in the field, in the dugout or even playing catch with fans down the lines.
On June 21 in a game against the Orioles the legend of Kawasaki grew to epic proportions.
After a couple of lead changes throughout the game the Jays headed into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing the O’s 6-4. Maicier Izturis started off the inning with a lead-off walk setting up Kawasaki to do something he had never done in an MLB game. Facing Orioles’ reliever Tommy Hunter Kawasaki turned on a pitch and deposited it over the right field wall for his first Major League home run. The knock tied the game 6-6 and set up Rajai Davis’ walk-off single in the ninth in a 7-6 Blue Jays win.
7. June 23 – No. 11
On June 11 the Blue Jays defeated the Chicago White Sox 7-5. They would not lose again for nearly two weeks.
On June 23 riding a 10-game winning streak the Jays concluded a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. Win No. 11 was never in doubt as the Jays jumped out to a big lead and never looked back.
Toronto got on the board with a single run in the first and after adding three runs in the second and five more in the third they had a 9-0 lead.
The final score of the massacre was Toronto 13, Baltimore 5. Edwin Encarnacion was 3-5 with a home run and four RBI in the rout while Jose Bautista had three RBI.
The 11-game winning streak matched a franchise record originally set in 1987.
A 12th straight win just slipped out of the Jays’ hands…
6. Josh Johnson finally wins one
Injuries and inconsistency has limited Josh Johnson’s first season in Toronto. Unless that changes in the second half it could end up being Johnson’s only season in Toronto.
On June 23 the Jays recorded their 11th win in a row and Johnson recorded his first victory as a Blue Jay. It wasn’t Johnson’s best start of the season, but the Jays offense did more than enough for him to secure the W versus the Orioles. In picking up the win Johnson went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Johnson actually tossed five shutout innings before he started to run out of gas in the sixth.
If you’re looking for Johnson’s best start of the season it came a few days earlier against the Rockies. On June 17 Johnson dominated Colorado, pitching 7 1-3 shutout innings, allowing only five hits with 10 strikeouts. Johnson missed out on the W because the Jays didn’t get on the board until the eighth.
5. June 26 – Welcome back Jose Reyes
Blue Jays fans cringed back on April 12 when Jose Reyes mangled his ankle sliding into second base. Original fears were that Reyes could be lost for months or even the entire season depending on the severity of the injury. The ankle ended up costing Reyes just over two months as he returned to the lineup on June 26.
Reyes went 0-4 in his return, but his bat started to heat up again soon enough. In his fourth game back Reyes had a pair of hits and scored two runs and in the final game of June he cracked his second home run of the season.
4. June 26 – R.A. Dickey goes the distance
It isn’t much of a stretch to say R.A. Dickey has been a disappointment so far in his first season in Toronto. The knuckleballer was supposed to be the Blue Jays ace, but so far has been very inconsistent and in a number of his starts he has been hit hard and hit often.
On June 26 Dickey finally figured things out against the Tampa Bay Rays. Dickey tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout with six strikeouts. He also only walked one batter. In that start Dickey showed increased velocity and if he’s finally over the back injury that plagued him throughout the first few months of the season he could be ready for a strong second half.
3. Brett Cecil is a beast in June
Was any Blue Jays pitcher better than Brett Cecil in June? Not a chance. The former starter has found a new home in the bullpen and with his velocity back up he’s having tremendous success.
In June Cecil appeared in 11 games and posted a 2-0 record. He pitched in 12 2-3 innings, allowing only four hits and one run. He also struck out 14 batters. Cecil’s ERA in June was a miniscule 0.71 and his WHIP a tiny 0.55. Cecil also set a new franchise record by facing 38-straight batters without surrendering a hit.
2. Esmil Rogers makes his mark
Due to a an injury-riddled rotation that was missing Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ the Jays were forced to turn to Esmil Rogers to start against the Texas Rangers on June 7 and 14. Rogers would make the most of the opportunity.
In his second start of the season on June 7 Rogers went four innings against the Rangers and limited Texas to one run on three hits with six strikeouts.
A week later Rogers took the mound against the Rangers again and delivered another solid start. This time Rogers picked up the win after going seven strong, allowing one run on five hits.
In six total appearances in June, five as a starter, Rogers posted a 2-1 record with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
1. Jose Bautista powers up
Jose Bautista had an up-and-down month of June, but he ended it on a high note.
The Jays closed out the month with a four-game set against the Red Sox. Toronto should have picked up at least a split in the series, but had to settle for only one win. You couldn’t really blame Bautista though.
In Game 3 of the series, which Toronto won 6-3, Joey Bats cranked a pair of home runs and had three RBI.
The following day Bautista gave the Jays a chance to win the game, before it was squandered in the bottom of the ninth. The game wouldn’t have even gotten that far if not for Bautista. In the top of the ninth with the Jays trailing 4-3 Bautista hit a rocket off Koji Uehara over the green monster. Hopefully this late month power surge will continue into the month of July.
Here’s a few other fun moments that caught out eye in June:
1. Maicier Izturis shreds the Flowers
2. Kawasaki and Bonifacio know how to celebrate
3. Luckily, Edwin doesn’t need to slide that often
What did you think of the June Top 10 Edwin?