Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Astros
By Emily @JaysGirlEmily
Blue Jays from Away
Game 1: Monday, June 25
JAYS WIN!!! 6-3
Winning Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Save: Seunghwan Oh
Sometimes baseball will just really surprise you. Justin Verlander hadn’t allowed more than three runs in a game all year. And then the Blue Jays came along, with a 36-41 record, and scored four against him, including two homers. They started in the first with two runs on a single, a walk, and a Justin Smoak double. The Astros cut that lead in half with a double, a walk, and a Yuli Gurriel RBI single off J.A. Happ. The Blue Jays had their first two batters in the third reach base, and get into scoring position, but Verlander stranded them. Then Alex Bregman tied the game with a home run, before Happ went on to strand the bases loaded.
The Astros took a lead in the fourth with Bregman playing the hero again, cashing in a Jake Marisnick single with a single of his own. But Curtis Granderson led off the fifth with a home run, knotting the game at 3-3. Verlander retired the next eight batters before Granderson homered again, putting Toronto on top. Verlander left the game after Hernandez singled. Randal Grichuk then hit the Blue Jays' longest home run of the season, 471 feet for two runs off Will Harris in the eighth, expanding the lead to 6-3.
Seunghwan Oh was called on to close it out, and his inning didn’t start off great. Tony Kemp pinch-hit and walked, and Josh Reddick pinch-hit and singled, and with nobody out George Springer launched a fly ball that seemed destined for the right-field seats, but Randal Grichuk ran to the wall, jumped straight up, and caught the ball before a fan could. After he robbed the potential game-tying homer, Oh struck out a pair to end the game and secure the save.
Game 2: Tuesday. June 26
Jays lose, 0-7
Losing Pitcher: Ryan Borucki
Ryan Borucki made his first career start, and had a good game (two earned runs in six innings pitched) but the Blue Jays couldn’t get him any run support. Charlie Morton struck out the side in the first, then walked Justin Smoak in the second, but Smoak was thrown out as part of a failed hit-and-run play. Borucki walked Jose Altuve on four pitches in the first, then again in the third, after stranding a single and a double in the second. Borucki’s first career strikeout was Marwin Gonzalez in the 2nd inning.
Josh Reddick, the leadoff hitter in the fourth, doubled, but was stranded after Brian McCann struck out on a foul tip that Russell Martin bobbled twice before catching. Morton held the Toronto lineup hitless until Martin singled with two outs in the fifth. Randal Grichuk followed up with a broken-bat single, but Aledmys Diaz also broke his bat, and grounded out to end the inning. The first runs scored in the bottom of the fifth, as Alex Bregman doubled and Jose Altuve walked for the third time in the game. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, then scored on a single from Evan Gattis.
With two out and two on in the top of the sixth, Jake Marisnick made a flying leap at the centre-field wall to rob Justin Smoak of a hit and keep the Jays scoreless. Borucki threw a clean frame, got a double play to erase a walk, and then left the game. Preston Guilmet came in for the seventh, and stranded Bregman’s third double of the night. He then allowed the first two batters to reach in the eighth, before Marisnick hit a three-run homer. Tim Mayza got the last two outs, but not before allowing a double to George Springer (snapping an 0-for-20 streak) and another home run, this one to Bregman. The Blue Jays stranded a pair in the ninth, finishing the night with five hits and three walks.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 27 (Day game)
Jays lose, 6-7 (Walkoff)
Starting Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Losing Pitcher: Ryan Tepera (blown save)
After being held scoreless the night before, the Jays poured on the runs against Dallas Keuchel in the first inning. They got started with a leadoff double from Randal Grichuk, then Teoscar Hernandez took a four-pitch walk and Yangervis Solarte drove in Grichuk with a double. Steve Pearce walked, loading the bases, before Kendrys Morales scored Hernandez with a sac fly (the first out of the inning). Kevin Pillar singled in a run, Aledmys Diaz singled in another, and Luke Maile scored Pillar with another sac fly before Devon Travis grounded out back to the mound to end the inning.
After the offence put up a five-spot, Marco Estrada allowed three runs, two of which were earned. George Springer reached on catcher’s interference, then Jose Altuve walked and Evan Gattis hit a two-out double to score both runners. Josh Reddick then singled, scoring Gattis before Estrada got out of the inning, still with a 5-3 lead. Both pitchers bounced back to set down the side in order in the second; they each also stranded a hit in the third. Estrada allowed three baserunners in the bottom of the fourth, but nobody scored because a double play erased the leadoff hit.
Alex Bregman led off the fifth with a double, and Gattis hit another double to score him, bringing Houston to within a run. But the Blue Jays widened their lead in the sixth, thanks to back-to-back first-pitch singles from Pillar and Diaz, a Maile walk, and a Travis ground ball that Altuve completely lost while attempting a forceout at second base. That error brought in a run, and kept the bases loaded. Brad Peacock then entered and struck out a pair to strand the runners.
The Blue Jays had something brewing in the eighth thanks to two singles, but Travis hit into an inning-ending double play. Following scoreless innings by Aaron Loup and Joe Biagini, Tyler Clippard allowed a solo home run to Marwin Gonzalez that made it 6-5 Toronto. Ryan Tepera came into the game for the ninth, and Tony Kemp led off with a softly-hit single. George Springer flew out (Hernandez nearly slipped while making the catch) but then Alex Bregman hammered an 0-2 pitch into the Crawford Boxes to walk off the game for Houston.
To make room on the roster for Ryan Borucki before his start on Tuesday, Gio Urshela was designated for assignment.
Josh Donaldson has experienced a setback in his injury recovery, experiencing calf tightness that will set him back another three weeks.
On Thursday night, it was announced that the Blue Jays had traded Steve Pearce and cash to Boston for a minor-league infielder named Santiago Espinal. With that move to the Red Sox, Pearce will now have played for every team in the AL East.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- On Wednesday, John Gibbons managed his 1500th game with the Blue Jays. He is the 87th manager in MLB history to reach that milestone.
- The Blue Jays allowed eight extra-base hits to one player in a series for the first time in history (Alex Bregman hit three home runs and five doubles).
My favourite player(s) this series: Borucki/Grichuk
In his first major-league start, Ryan Borucki had the most effective start of the series, going six innings with two runs allowed on six hits and four walks. He got out of a few jams with runners on base. He needed 95 pitches to complete his start.
Randal Grichuk went 4-for-13 with a home run and a double, and two RBI. He also made the catch on Monday, robbing George Springer of a home run, that definitely saved the game.
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!