Chris Jakubauskas held the Athletics to three hits over five scoreless innings, walking one and striking out five to earn his first win since Aug. 12, 2009.
He also came away with a bruise on his left shin, courtesy of Cliff Pennington’s smash up the middle, but he stayed in the game long enough to record the final out in the fifth.
“It hurt pretty good right off the bat,” he said. “I threw it, he hit it, I was like, ‘Let it miss me,’ but it didn’t. As Buck (Showalter) said on the mound, probably better than the last place I got hit, so I’ll take that.
“That’s the second time I’ve taken one off the leg this year. I took one off the leg in Norfolk. As long as it’s not in the head. It is what it is. If it’s my time to get hit again, it’s my time to get hit. There were some choice words that went through my mind after it happened, but I try to keep those as quiet as I could. It was more of just, ‘I can’t believe this. Really? Again I get hit?’
“It stung right off the bat, went numb on me and kind of tightened up, but it felt pretty good after that. They told me to keep them informed. I was trying to walk around, keep it loose so it wouldn’t tighten up on me. But after Luke (Scott) hit the home run, Buck came up to me and said that was it. I wanted to come back out, but he’s the boss and I do what he tells me.”
Here’s more from Jakubauskas, beginning with his pitching philosophy tonight:
“Kind of what they’ve been preaching: Get ahead early, pound the zone. Those guys like to take. You get ahead early in the count. It was working out for me.
“It definitely felt good to get back out, start a game and let it be mine from minute one. But like I said before, it’s whatever they want me to do. I was happy to take the ball tonight. I’ll be ready to go in three days, wherever they need me.
“It’s good, obviously. It’s always good to get back to the big leagues, but to get back out there and start again ... I knew what it was. Spot start, go out, try and get five or six innings, save the ‘pen so we don’t have to use (Alfredo) Simon or anyone else for too long. Luckily, it went that way.”
The curveball was a big pitch for Jakubauskas.
“I had good control of it. I was throwing it down in the zone, up for strikes. It definitely was working off the fastball.”
J.J. Hardy gave Jakubauskas a quick 1-0 lead with a home run in his first at-bat as a leadoff hitter.
“After I got that first at-bat out of the way, it was just like hitting in any other spot for the rest of the game,” Hardy said.
“I feel like I am capable of driving the ball. There were times last year that I felt like even if I did put a good swing on it, I couldn’t hit a homer. Whenever you do that, you get confidence. And I feel pretty good out there.”
Hardy joked before the game that he’d swing at the first pitch, but he actually connected on the second after falling behind, 0-1.
“D-Lee (Derrek Lee) was yelling at me before I went up there to swing at the first pitch, and I took it,” Hardy said. “It was a fastball middle in. But I took it.”
Hardy was greeted with lots of laughter and quips upon returning to the dugout after his home run.
“I think everyone else was making the jokes,” he said. “I was just laughing. Everyone was chirping in.”
Perhaps Hardy will bat leadoff again tomorrow, though Robert Andino could get that assignment if he’s back at second base.
“I don’t know. I have no idea,” Hardy said. “I feel like I was hitting leadoff for a reason. I think Buck wouldn’t just throw me in the fire like that, so there was something behind it. I don’t know what it was. I come here hoping to be in the lineup and it doesn’t really matter where, so if I am hitting leadoff again, whatever.”
Luke Scott homered for the first time since May 3 and also doubled off the center field fence.
“It felt great,” he said. “This season has been a struggle for me personally and I’ve been battling a couple tough injuries and just trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. It feels good to get some results.”
Scott has hit six home runs on Eutaw St., the most of any player.
“I would say I’m humbled by it, first and foremost,” he said. “Just to have the blessing and opportunity to play this game and to accomplish some pretty good goals. It’s a nice feather to have in the cap and something I’m very, very thankful for.”
The shoulder must be feeling better.
“Yeah,” he said. “Before, hitting with my shoulder, it was hard for me to extend on balls. It’s my lead shoulder, which is the most important one. Playing through pain and playing through discomfort, it was tough. Today, I think the medicine really kicked in. First time in six weeks I could do that (raises arm). For me, that’s a great victory and a blessing. I’m happy the way I’m feeling now with the shoulder.”