Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Braves

 Right-hander Marcus Stroman earned the win in the first of two games the Toronto Blue Jays played against the Atlanta Braves earlier this week. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Right-hander Marcus Stroman earned the win in the first of two games the Toronto Blue Jays played against the Atlanta Braves earlier this week. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Emily @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays from Away

Game 1: Tuesday, July 10
JAYS WIN!!! 6-2
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman might have been as dominant as he’s been all season, in this seven-inning start. On the other side of the field, Julio Teheran hadn’t had career success against AL East teams yet he lasted 6 2/3 innings, and only allowed one run on three hits. The Blue Jays stranded a single and a walk in the first, before stranding a Stroman single and Aledmys Diaz (who’d reached on error) in the second. Justin Smoak broke open the scoring with a solo home run in the 3rd, giving him 13 on the season.

Stroman allowed a pair of singles in the fourth but got a 5-3 double play to get out of it. Each team stranded a pair in the fifth, before Ozzie Albies led off the sixth with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored easily on a Kurt Suzuki single, tying the game. Stroman allowed one more single in his final inning of work.

Teheran had left the game in the seventh, but it wasn’t until the second Atlanta reliever came in that the Toronto bats did some damage. Yangervis Solarte led off the eighth, and reached on a ground ball that handcuffed Dansby Swanson at shortstop. Solarte was replaced with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who then advanced on a failed pickoff attempt. Randal Grichuk hit a one-out single, and Russell Martin also singled, scoring Gurriel. Grichuk stole third, and Kevin Pillar hit another RBI single. Another pitcher was brought in at that point, but he gave up back-to-back doubles to Diaz and Travis that made it 6-1. An intentional walk of Kendrys Morales led to a bases-loaded double play that ended the inning.

Aaron Loup allowed a single and a double in his 1/3-inning of work, one of which scored when Seunghwan Oh got Suzuki to ground out. Atlanta’s catcher had the only RBI for their team, while five different Blue Jays drove in runs.

Game 2: Wednesday, July 11
Jays lose, 5-9
Losing Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio

A series of defensive miscues led to an early exit for Gaviglio. In the first inning he hit the leadoff batter, and then Freddie Freeman reached on a force attempt, with a missed catch error by the shortstop. Gaviglio got two outs to strand them, and the Jays got a pair aboard in the top of the second, but they were stranded as well. In the bottom half, Johan Camaro led off with a single, and Dansby Swanson hit a one-out single that moved Camargo to third. The pitcher hit a sacrifice bunt, which scored the run, but he also reached because Luke Maile made a throwing error.

A double scored another run, a sac fly scored one more, and the runners advanced on Teoscar Hernandez’ throw. Then Freeman singled in a run, another double scored another run and again the throw advanced him to third. After one more RBI single, John Gibbons had had enough and brought in Petricka, who walked Camargo before getting the third out. Atlanta later loaded the bases in the fifth but Tim Mayza got a three-pitch strikeout and a ground out (overturned on replay) to end the inning unscathed. Ozzie Albies then led off the sixth with a home run, putting the Braves ahead 7-0.

Mike Foltynewicz allowed only one hit (as well as two walks) to the Blue Jays through the first six innings, then Justin Smoak hit a solo home run in the seventh to finally put the Jays on the board. Three straight two-out singles followed, although Luke Maile reached on what amounted to an infield single to shortstop. Devon Travis had entered in the sixth, pinch-hitting in the pitchers’ spot, and he subsequently took over at second base. He hit his third career grand slam, sending the ball over the fence in center field and chasing Foltynewicz from the game.

With a tie game two runs away, Atlanta changed pitchers and Kevin Pillar grounded out. They changed pitchers again for the eighth, allowing a single to Hernandez but nothing more. Aaron Loup then entered with the score 7-5, and proceeded to give up a double and a home run to the first two batters he faced, before getting two outs, walking one, and allowing a single before Joe Biagini replaced him. An Aledmys Diaz single was stranded in the ninth.

My favourite player(s) this series: Travis/Stroman/Smoak

Devon Travis hit an RBI double in Game 1, and followed that up with a grand slam in Game 2. He now has the highest batting average for an American League hitter in interleague play since 2015, the year he made his debut.

Marcus Stroman upped his lifetime batting average to .200 with a second-inning single against Teheran on Tuesday. He also lowered his 2018 season ERA to a 5.90 (it’s the first time he’s been below the 6 mark all year). He threw seven dominant innings, only surrendered one run and six hits. He walked two and struck out five, throwing 60 of his 93 pitches for strikes and leaving the game with a tie score. He got the win because the Blue Jays scored a barrage of runs the next half-inning.

Justin Smoak hit two home runs in this series – and both times, they were the first run scored for his team. They were the only hits he had, but he also walked once in each game, and has three home runs in the last five games played.

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Emily is a Communications student who grew up with a Roy Halladay poster on the back of her door. A baseball history nerd, she played softball for nine years and changes her favourite Blue Jay on a regular basis. She fondly remembers going to her first Jays game at age six with her father, and spending the whole time staring at the elevators going up the CN Tower.