Adam Jones welcomed Bill Hall to the team with a shaving cream pie to the face following tonight’s 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
Hall hadn’t homered since May 14, 2011, so the occasion called for the traditional baseball celebration.
“It’s the first-ever pie in the face,” Hall said. “He got me good. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Got me good. It was a lot in my eyes, burned a little bit, but it’s always good when you’re doing something good for when stuff like that happens.”
Hall’s opposite-field shot in the eighth inning provided a little more breathing room for closer Jim Johnson - not that he needed it.
“It’s all about having good quality at-bats,” Hall said. “Outside of my second strikeout with the bases loaded, I felt like didn’t really give a lot away, but I got some pitches I should’ve put in play, definitely. But my other at-bats were good.”
Hall really has landed on his feet since the Yankees released him this spring. He’s part of a first-place team.
“I’m a fan of baseball, so I know it’s been a while since this team has got off to a start like it has right now,” he said. “Obviously, I remember the old days when this park used to be rocking, so it’s great that these guys have got it on track, got off to a good start. I think the confidence of the team and the organization as a whole is building, and that’s a good thing. Like I said, I just want to come here and be a part of it and try to contribute as much as I can.
“It’s a very loose team. I think that’s what you’ve got to have in order to win ball games. You have to have as much fun, be as loose as possible. Obviously, the more pressure you put on yourselves, it makes it a lot better when you’re winning games. It’s easier to be lose. But we got off to a great start and this team is having fun.
“Like I said, the confidence is growing, and if it keeps growing we’re a dangerous team. We’ve got a lot of dangerous bats in the lineup and obviously a lot of great pitching, so that’s what you need to do, especially in this division. We know it’s going to be a grind all year long, especially with the teams we have in this division. But like I said, the confidence is there and the belief is starting to come more and more.”
As for Brian Matusz, he says the consistency that he’s seeking is coming gradually.
“There’s a lot of positives in today,” he said. “Kept the ball down, slider felt good, but just have to keep working hard and staying on top of things and keep battling. I’d like to go deeper in games. That would be huge for the next outing.
“Handing the ball over to this ‘pen, there’s no better feeling. Guys came out today and shut it down. They’ve been consistent all year. It’s great to have a bullpen like that.”
Matusz didn’t face more than four batters in any inning until the sixth.
“That helps, and being ahead in the counts and minimizing damaging innings,” he said. “Expo (Luis Exposito) was great today. We worked really well. I kept the ball down, and that was the key, other than the home run that I gave up, a changeup up, but I was able to keep it down in the zone.”