Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Astros

 Toronto Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney went 3-for-7 in the club's recent three-game series against the Houston Astros. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney went 3-for-7 in the club's recent three-game series against the Houston Astros. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Friday, August 4
Jays lose, 7-16
Losing Pitcher: Cesar Valdez

The Blue Jays have only won one game played on a Friday since June 9. This game was no exception, as they were completely blown out by the Astros. Cesar Valdez allowed a two-run homer to Yuli Gurriel in the 1st inning, and another run scored on a double and a single in the 3rd. Kendrys Morales then hit a two-run homer in the 4th off Brad Peacock, just the second Blue Jay hit of the game. That made it 3-2 for Houston. 

Valdez then went on to give up a single, four-pitch walk, and RBI double to the first three batters in the bottom of the 4th. Matt Dermody entered with one out. A ground out scored a run, and Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer. After a single, Mike Bolsinger replaced Dermody and gave up a single and another home run, this one to Marwin Gonzalez. Bolsinger went on to give up two more runs on three hits, two walks, and loaded the bases before he got the third out. Nine runs had scored in the inning.

After a single and a double play, Russell Martin hit a solo home run in the 5th. The ball bounced off the wall in centre field above the home run line. It was reviewed before being called a home run. In the 6th, Morales doubled, Steve Pearce singled, and Ezequiel Carrera doubled to score Morales. Ryan Goins hit a three-run homer, which put the Jays within five runs at 12-7. Tyler White increased the lead in the bottom half with another two-run homer.

Houston scored one run in each of the 7th and 8th – Danny Barnes allowed the first on a double and a single, then White homered again off J.P. Howell in the 8th. The Blue Jays had 10 hits; Houston had 18. Between six Jays pitchers, they only recorded one strikeout.

Game 2: Saturday, August 5 (night game)
JAYS WIN!! 4-3 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Tepera
Save: Roberto Osuna

Josh Donaldson drove in the first run of the game with a double off Charlie Morton in the 1st inning. But Marco Estrada gave up a single and a two-run Josh Reddick homer to give Houston a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. In the 2nd, the Jays loaded the bases on a walk and two singles, and Jose Bautista plated a run on a ground out.

Estrada struck out four in the first three innings, but Tyler White led off the 3rd with his third home run of two days, putting Houston on top again. Estrada got the next seven batters out, until J.D. Davis broke the streak with a single – his first career hit - with one out in the 5th. Davis was then thrown out by Russell Martin following a strikeout to end the inning. Estrada left the game after the 7th, having allowed three runs on five hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. He left with the score tied 3-3, following a pair of singles and Bautista driving in a run on a fielder’s choice in the top of the 7th.

The Jays stranded runners at second and third after a pair of walks and a wild pitch in the 8th. After each team stranded a runner in the 9th, they went to extra innings and the Blue Jays got to see Francisco Liriano for the first time since trading him. Rob Refsnyder pinch hit, walked, then stole second base. Ryan Goins singled, allowing Refsnyder to score, and a creative slide allowed him to evade the catcher’s tag (though it underwent a review). Roberto Osuna got the save on eleven pitches, including two strikeouts.

Game 3: Sunday, August 6
Jays lose, 6-7 (walked off)
Starting Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Losing Pitcher: Roberto Osuna

Each team only scored in two innings. The Blue Jays took the lead in the 3rd on a Jose Bautista two-run homer. He drove in Darwin Barney, who had reached on a fielding error. Marcus Stroman stranded a leadoff walk and a single in the 3rd, then Houston loaded the bases in the 4th before Stroman got a double play.

In the 5th inning, Houston scored three on five hits and an error. The inning began with a double, a single and a Jose Altuve RBI single, followed by a ground out that advanced the runners. Ryan Goins made a fielding error and another run scored, then Marwin Gonzalez hit a sac fly to put the Astros on top. The Blue Jays countered with a four-run rally in the 7th. Nori Aoki, starting for the first time since coming to Toronto, hit a two-run homer against his former team. That gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 advantage.

Barney was hit with a pitch, then Russell Martin singled and Josh Donaldson hit into a fielder’s choice where Barney was thrown out at home. Justin Smoak drove in Martin and Donaldson with a double. Stroman left the game with two outs and two on in the bottom of that inning – Dominic Leone stranded the runners. Stroman’s final line was 6 2/3 innings, two earned runs allowed on eleven hits and two walks.

After Toronto stranded a pair of singles in the 8th, and a pair of walks in the 9th, Roberto Osuna came in to attempt for the save. Following a leadoff single to Altuve, he struck out Josh Reddick (and Reddick was ejected for arguing). Two more singles loaded the bases, Carlos Beltran drove one in with a ground out, and then Alex Bregman tripled to drive in two more and tie the game. Catcher Juan Centeno – playing in just his third career game – singled, Bregman scored, and the Astros walked it off. The Jays had eight hits, half of the Astros total, and had held a two-run lead with two outs in the 9th.

Overall Notes:

If you’ve found yourself thinking that this team seems to be making a habit of losing the lead extremely late in games, you’d be correct:

The Nationals are the only other team to do that more than twice (they’ve done it three times).

The last time the Blue Jays faced Brad Peacock, he kept them scoreless for six innings. He’d only given up two home runs all season. The Jays managed to hit three off him, and scored seven runs. Most of the time, that would give them a good chance to win.

Miguel Montero was placed on the disabled list prior to the start of this series with a groin injury he sustained in the third game of the series in Chicago. The team called up catcher Raffy Lopez to take his place. They also optioned Joe Biagini to triple-A Buffalo to stretch him out to start. Reliever Danny Barnes was activated from the disabled list.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

·         Friday’s game was the second time in MLB history that a team has used six or more pitchers in a game and all of them have allowed a run.

My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Estrada/Bautista/Barney

Marco Estrada allowed three runs in seven innings, all of them scoring on home runs. He allowed five hits and two walks, and struck out seven. He actually got better the later he went into the game, facing just one batter over the minimum in his final four innings.

Jose Bautista was 4-for-14 over the course of the series, with a home run and four RBI.

Darwin Barney was 3-for-7 with a run scored.

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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!