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The Globe and Mail

Lawrie sparks Blue Jays with both his bat and glove

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie makes a diving catch against the Baltimore Orioles in foul territory during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto, May 29, 2012.


Brett Lawrie charged the slow roller down the third base line, collected the baseball in his bare hand, and made an accurate throw across the diamond to first base for one out.

In the third inning, the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman made a great back-handed stab off a ground ball that was just scorched by Steve Tolleson of the Baltimore Orioles, with the same result at first.

Then in the ninth, the coup de grace – a great sliding catch in foul territory of a pop-up off the bat of Chris Davis that signalled the second out of the inning.

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Oh yeah, Lawrie also went 3-4 at the plate and drove in three runs in Toronto's 8-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

Just another day at the office for the tightly-wound bundle of energy who brings so much versatility to the Blue Jays, both offensively and defensively.

"The range he has is incredible, evident by the last pop up that he caught." marvelled Blue Jays manager John Farrell. "He comes in on a slow roller to make a throw across the diamond.

"I think every night that we take the field you're never going to be really surprised by a play that he might make. A diving play to his backhand, just a full array of plays that he made."

The Blue Jays will go for the sweep in the three-game series against their American League East rival Wednesday night at Rogers Centre when they send Brandon Morrow out to the mound.

Farrell said he was even more impressed by Lawrie's presence in the batter's box.

"But I think the biggest thing for me tonight, I thought he stayed behind the baseball," Farrell said. "It's the first time in a while he's driven some balls, some fastballs that have been up and away from him, driven them the other way.

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"He's been in a little bit of a tendency to maybe rush out a little bit and those balls have been flared to right field. But he was able to stay on top of it and drive some balls the other way."

Whether it is with his bat, his glove – or just getting in the face of another umpire – the 22-year-old from Langley, B.C., has that innate ability to constantly place himself at the centre of attention.

"I was just trying to square the ball up," Lawrie said, spitting out the words at 100 miles an hour, the same way he plays.

"I was just trying to stay on the fastball. You can't miss the fastball. You can't let these guys [Baltimore pitchers]get 0-2 or get two strikes on you. I was just trying to really square it up and put the ball in play and got lucky tonight."

Lawrie, who nudged his batting average up to .283 with his performance at the plate, was part of a powerful trifecta of seven, eight and nine hitters at the bottom of the Blue Jays batting order that inflicted most of the damage against the Orioles.

Along with David Cooper, (two hits, one RBI) and Rajai Davis (three hits, 2 RBIs) the trio accounted for eight of Toronto's 10 hits.

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"Tremendous," is how Toronto starting pitcher Ricky Romero termed the offence. "Brett and Rajai did a great job along with the other guys.

"I'm just happy we won the game and get a chance to sweep these guys tomorrow with Brandon [Morrow]on the mound. I'm looking forward to that."

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