Former Long County baseball star Dustin McGowan was back on the mound Sunday, pitching in a historic game for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Playing in Toronto, the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 13-5, to tie a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win. McGowan, a relief pitcher for the Blue Jays, entered the game in the top of the ninth inning to relieve Juan Perez.
In the inning, McGowan struck out the first batter he faced but allowed a solo home run to Ryan Flaherty. McGowan bounced back to force Nate McLouth to pop out, and then struck out hot-hitting Manny Machado to end the game.
Sunday’s game was the fourth time McGowan has seen action this year since being activated off of the 60-day disabled list June 7. Prior to this month, McGowan pitched in only five games since 2008. A string of injuries, primarily surrounding his right shoulder, kept the former first-round draft pick on the sidelines.
With his history of injuries, the Jays’ organization during the offseason decided that if McGowan was able to come back this year they would use him from the bullpen instead of in the starting rotation. Earlier this month, Blue Jay manager John Gibbons told MLB.com that he would initially use McGowan no more than two innings a game and give him at least one day’s rest after pitching.
Since his most recent comeback McGowan has pitched 3 1/3rd innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs and two walks and striking out four batters. His ERA in four appearances was 5.40 as of Monday.
The Blue Jays win streak ended Monday in Florida at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-1. Though Toronto has been on a tear over the last month, entering Tuesday they were in the basement of the American League Eastern Division with a 38-37 record, 5 ½ games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox.