With all the uncertainties the myriad of injuries have created this season for the Toronto Blue Jays, Casey Janssen has been the sole constant for manager John Farrell.
So it was uncharacteristic when Janssen came into Monday’s game in the ninth inning with the Blue Jays holding a one run lead and see him fritter it away on his first pitch at Rogers Centre.
That it was Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox who wrecked his night, swatting his second home run of the game to give him a Major League-leading 33rd on the year, didn’t make it any easier.
While Dunn’s late blast pulled the White Sox into a 2-2 tie, it was only temporary as the Blue Jays battled back for a 3-2 extra-innings victory on David Cooper’s walk-off single in the 11th.
"Adam Dunn makes the ballpark looks like a little league field every time he steps to the plate," Farrell said afterward. "And that was the case again tonight."
Up until Dunn’s second solo shot, Casey has owned the ninth inning since assuming the closer’s role on May 9th.
He was a perfect 15-for-15 in save situations, which had been the fifth longest active streak in baseball.
Of those 15 saves, Casey had allowed just seven base runners over 15.2 innings pitched. On 11 of those occasions Janssen faced the minimum three batters.
"You hate to blow a game ever," a somewhat somber Janssen said. "On the bright side I didn’t cost the team a loss and we were able to come back.
"All in all it was a good day – not personally but for the team."
Like all good closers, Janssen showed he had a short memory.
He got Alex Rios to ground out and A.J. Pierzynski to fly out to right field before allowing Alexei Ramirez a single to centre.
Ramirez was erased at second base by catcher Jeff Mathis on an attempted steal, allowing the Blue Jays to get out of the inning on even terms with the White Sox.
"In your younger days you might have been a little bit more frustrated," Janssen said. "With this job you’ve got to have a quick memory. It’s pitch to pitch, hitter to hitter. It’s over with and back at it tomorrow."
"If you didn’t see the home run to lead off the inning you wouldn’t have known there was a game-tying hit in that case," Farrell added. "He kept his composure, he continued to make pitches."
On the injury front, Farrell received some good news just before game time regarding slugger Jose Bautista, whose sore left wrist landed him in the 15-day disabled list on August 17.
Bautista took some "dry" swings with the bat prior to the game. When he felt no discomfort he proceeded to hit some balls off a tee in the batting cage, again reporting no pain.