McGowan works eight to beat Mariners

McGowan works eight to beat Mariners

TORONTO -- In the end, the gaffe proved inconsequential. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made a mental error during a standard pregame routine, penning his approval on what turned out to be an incorrect lineup card.

The Mariners noted the mistake and used it to their advantage on Saturday afternoon, but Toronto starter Dustin McGowan managed to render the misprint moot. McGowan turned in another gem for the Jays, spinning eight strong innings to help pave the way for a 2-1 victory at Rogers Centre.

"He has the ability to dominate every time he goes out there," said Gibbons, referring to McGowan. "The big thing is confidence and he's found that. Usually, that's what young kids need to get over the hump."

For six innings, McGowan (9-8) matched zeroes with Seattle's Miguel Batista, who suited up for the Jays during the 2004 and '05 seasons. Batista kept Toronto's bats at bay for seven innings, scattering five hits along the way.

The box score might have included a sixth hit -- and possibly a few more runs -- against the right-hander, but a bizarre paperwork issue cost the Jays (69-66) in the second inning.

Prior to the game, Gibbons slotted first baseman Lyle Overbay and second baseman Aaron Hill into the sixth and seventh spots of the batting order, respetively, against the Mariners (73-61). That was where their names were listed on the lineup card that is posted daily inside the Blue Jays' clubhouse.

"Every day we go out, we look at the lineup card and we saw where we were," said Hill, motioning to where the card is placed near the clubhouse doors. "We'll have to pay more attention to all the lineups, I guess, instead of just this one."

Hill's last remark referred to the fact that the lineup card that was given to home-plate umpire Marty Foster and Mariners manager John McLaren had him batting sixth and Overbay seventh. Gibbons approved the lineup card before the game with his signature, but he didn't review the order first.

"My job is to go through and review that and I didn't review it," Gibbons said. "That was a screwup. The one posted out there in the room was right. The one that was printed up, I didn't review it before I signed it. That's all."

Seeing the error, McLaren waited for an opportune time to reveal Gibbons' mistake. In the second, Overbay flew out to left field, and Hill followed by pulling a pitch from Batista into left for a one-out double. With that, McLaren emerged from the dugout and pointed out that Hill had batted out of turn, according to his lineup card.

"It was our trump card," McLaren said. "When Hill got on with a double, we used the trump card. If it would have gone on the whole game, we would have kept the trump card the whole game."

After a lengthy meeting on the field with the managers, Foster raised his fist to signal that Hill was out. With one hit shaved off his career total, Toronto's second baseman jogged off the field. Batista followed by striking out Jays catcher Gregg Zaun to end the inning.

"We were like, 'What's going on right now? No way this is happening,'" Hill said. "What are you going to do? You can't change it, so there's no reason to be mad about it. It's over and we won. It's behind us and hopefully it'll never happen again."

It's already the second time this season that Toronto has handed in an incorrect lineup card.

On July 27 in Chicago, the Jays penciled shortstop John McDonald into the starting lineup, but Royce Clayton took the field. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen pointed out the flaw, which made McDonald unavailable off the bench, and Clayton made a handful of costly plays in the field that contributed to a 4-3 loss.

This time around, the mix-up didn't figure into the decision.

"It didn't affect the game," Gibbons was quick to point out. "We won the ballgame."

The Jays did so despite once again offering little run support for McGowan, who gave up one run on six hits and struck out three. Over his past five outings, he's posted a 3.62 ERA, but an average of just 2.2 runs of support from Toronto's offense over that span has led to a 1-3 record for the 25-year-old right-hander.

Two runs proved to be just enough for McGowan against Seattle, which has dropped eight in a row.

In the seventh, Zaun put Toronto ahead, 1-0, with a solo homer off Batista. An inning later, the Blue Jays added another run against reliever Sean Green (5-2). Toronto right fielder Alex Rios drew a leadoff walk and later crossed home plate on a single by Troy Glaus for the game's decisive run.

Blue Jays closer Jeremy Accardo followed by holding the Mariners scoreless in the ninth to seal McGowan's first victory since Aug. 5.

"I didn't even remember when [my last win] was," McGowan said with a smile. "I've been pitching pretty good ball. As long as you keep your team in the game and give them a chance to win, that's all that matters."

Thanks to McGowan, Gibbons' mistake hardly mattered at all.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.