He had to first climb the long hill to get to the majors. Then came a successful debut (two scoreless relief innings) earlier this week, and Friday night longtime Independent Baseball hurler Chris Jakubauskas got his first major league victory.
The 30-year-old onetime University of Oklahoma first baseman-outfielder bailed out starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, who had a 5-2 lead for Seattle but did not last the required five innings to qualify to be the winning pitcher.
Jakubauskas inherited two runners with one out in the fourth at Oakland, then promptly hit Jason Giambi with a pitch to load the bases. But the right-hander retired Matt Holliday and Eric Chavez to strand the three runners.
Jakubauskas's log for the evening was 40 pitches (22 for strikes), two hits, two runs, one walk and 2.0 innings of work. The onetime hurler in the American Association (Lincoln, NE), Golden League (Fullerton, CA) and Frontier League (Florence, KY and traveling Ohio Valley) now has a 4.50 earned run average to go with his 1-0 career record.
Oh, and both Jakubauskas, who was in Independent leagues for a total of more than four years at the start of his pro career, and David Aardsma, who picked up his first major league save in the 5-4 Seattle victory, got shaving-cream pies in the face for their efforts.
Both no doubt feel it was worth it.