Blue Jays choke off past doubts with 9-game win streak

September 22, 1993|By Jeff Bradley | Jeff Bradley,New York Daily News

TORONTO -- One year ago, on their way to their first World Series championship, the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to answer a lot of questions about their past.

Now, as this team sprints its way to the finish line and yet another year of postseason baseball, it seems the Blue Jays are having to answer a whole new set of questions. No longer are they asked about September collapses and chokes. These Jays are asked if they're good enough to repeat.

Are they as good as last year? Many think they are not. Yet after shutting out the Boston Red Sox, 5-0, last night before another sellout crowd at SkyDome, the Jays, at 87-63, stand just one game off the pace they set on their way to a world title last fall. And they're on a roll, having won their last nine games in a row.

Todd Stottlemyre, a question mark unto himself, went the distance last night for the first time this year. He allowed three hits, struck out a career-high 10 and won for the fifth time in his last six turns.

Stottlemyre (11-10), who has battled injuries and, according to teammate Joe Carter, himself this season, outpitched Roger Clemens, who fell to 11-14. The loss was Clemens' fourth this year to the Jays, marking the first time in his career he has lost four times to the same opponent in one season.

"That's probably the best stuff I've had this season," said Stottlemyre, who used just 108 pitches in this 2-hour, 25-minute affair. "I was able to throw strike one, and I was getting all four pitches over the plate."

Said Carter: "Todd can be awfully tough on himself at times. But when he has his confidence, he's just tough on the opposition."

Carter helped ignite the Blue Jays' decisive fourth-inning rally with a bit of daring base running.

He had doubled home Paul Molitor for the game's first run and, an out later, stood on third with Darnell Coles at the plate. Tony Fernandez, the runner on first, broke for second as Coles swung and missed on a strike-three fastball. Boston catcher Tony Pena pumped to second, then fired to third, where Carter had come far down the line and was now busting back to the bag.

"There's aggressive base running and there's stupid base running," Carter said. "I was on the borderline."

Pena's throw ticked off Carter's shoulder and shot past third baseman Scott Cooper, rolling all the way into the left-field corner and allowing both Carter and Fernandez to score.

In the beginning of this month, when the Blue Jays were in the throes of a six-game losing streak, Carter probably would have been nailed.

But now, this team can do no wrong.

Cooper said Carter "deserves credit for making things happen."

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