Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Orioles

 Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis went 7-for-11 (.636 batting average) in the three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis went 7-for-11 (.636 batting average) in the three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Friday, May 19
Jays lose, 3-5 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Losing pitcher: Jason Grilli

The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes by rain, then it was delayed again for an hour in the middle of the 10th. Aaron Sanchez started for the Blue Jays, and gave up the first run of the game on a trio of singles in the 2nd inning. The Jays got three runs against Chris Tillman in the 4th, the only inning of the game in which they’d score. Jose Bautista led off and was hit with a pitch. Kendrys Morales walked and Justin Smoak scored Bautista with a single. Morales scored when Devon Travis doubled and Ryan Goins grounded out to score Smoak. With Travis on third, Darwin Barney attempted a suicide squeeze bunt, but missed, and the Orioles caught Travis in a rundown as he was too far off the base.

Welington Castillo tied the game with a two-run homer in the 6th. In the top of the 7th, the Blue Jays loaded the bases against Darren O’Day with a single and a pair of walks. With two outs (one of them a failed bunt by Luke Maile), Smoak swung at a third-strike slider and the ball got away from Castillo, so he took off for first with Coghlan running in to score – until Baltimore complained that the ball had struck Smoak as he swung, the play was reviewed and he was therefore out, so the inning was over and the run didn’t count.

In the 8th, Travis hit a ball that lined off the pitcher’s foot, which Manny Machado retrieved and threw to first, but Travis was safe. Orioles manager Buck Showalter wanted it to be reviewed, in case the ball didn’t hit the dirt before it hit Asher’s foot (therefore it would have been an out if Machado had caught it) but they left it be. Then Ryan Goins bunted – bunted! – into a double play. The game went into extra innings and after a lengthy rain delay, Jason Grilli came in and got two outs, then Mark Trumbo (who walked off the last extra-inning game the Jays played in Baltimore, against Grilli) singled and Castillo hit his second home run of the night to end the game.

Game 2: Saturday, May 20
Jays lose, 5-7
Losing Pitcher: Mike Bolsinger

The Jays loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning (an apparent force out at second base was overturned) but Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play, scoring one run, then Justin Smoak struck out. Mike Bolsinger allowed three singles in the bottom half to tie it. A walk then loaded the bases (with two outs) but Hyun Soo Kim grounded out to Devon Travis, who first juggled it before making the play in time, to end the inning.

The Jays bounced into another double play in the 2nd, then got another call overturned in the 3rd when Ryan Goins hit a grounder to short but first baseman Chris Davis was off the bag when he caught the ball. That snapped an 0-for-24 streak for Goins. They stranded a pair that inning. Then Manny Machado led off the bottom half with a home run. Machado robbed Russell Martin (in his first game back from injury) of a potential extra-base hit, instead turning it into a double play, in the 4th. Kevin Gausman struck out Bautista to strand another pair of runners in the 5th.

Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 5th, scoring Machado, who had walked. Smoak answered with a solo shot in the 6th to cut the lead to 4-2. ravis doubled, and Martin, who’d gotten lucky on a ball called inside earlier in the at bat, was called out on essentially the same pitch. Darwin Barney popped up to strand Travis. Bolsinger was done with one out that inning, with 4 earned runs, six hits, five walks and five strikeouts. Dominic Leone loaded the bases but got an inning-ending double play off the bat of Adam Jones.

Jose Bautista homered in the 7th to put the Jays up 5-4 at the time, then Danny Barnes allowed a 3-run homer to Welington Castillo in the bottom half, giving the Orioles a 7-5 lead they would not relinquish. Bautista played third for a few innings after Anthony Alford pinch-hit for Ryan Goins; Alford subsequently played right field while Darwin Barney moved from third to shortstop. Barney partly contributed to the 3-run bomb, as he was unable to make a play on a one-out, one-on ground ball from Trumbo (the batter directly before Castillo). Bautista later set in motion a double play to end the inning.

Game 3: Sunday, May 21
JAYS WIN!!! 3-1
Winning Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Save: Roberto Osuna

Toronto had six hits; Baltimore had seven, but every run in this game was scored via the homer. Facing Wade Miley, Kendrys Morales reached on a two-out fielding error in the 1st inning. Justin Smoak then singled and Devon Travis hit his second home run of the year to put the Jays up 3-0 early. Marco Estrada shut down the first six batters he faced, before allowing a leadoff double to Trey Mancini in the 3rd. Mancini was stranded on base, as Estrada got the next three batters – totalling six strikeouts in his first nine outs.

Kevin Pillar had a bit of an adventure in the 3rd – he hit an infield single, reached second base on an errant pickoff attempt, and then tried to take advantage of a passed ball but was thrown out stealing third. Travis singled in the 4th but Russell Martin (starting this game at third base) hit into a double play. Adam Jones led off the bottom of the 4th with a solo home run. The Jays got two more baserunners in the 5th, thanks to a Manny Machado fielding error and a 4-pitch walk to Pillar, but both were stranded. A pair of singles met the same fate in the 6th.

Meanwhile, Estrada worked around a leadoff walk in the 5th and a leadoff single in the 6th – getting three strikeouts afterwards, two looking. He was replaced by Joe Smith after allowing a two-out single to Jones in the 8th. Smith hit Machado, then struck out Chris Davis. In the 9th, Roberto Osuna allowed a leadoff single, which was then erased on a double play, before he allowed another single. Finally, Seth Smith popped out to end the tense inning. -

Overall Notes:

Outfield prospect Anthony Alford was called up on Friday due to Pillar’s suspension and Darell Ceciliani’s injury. It was his major-league debut, after being in double-A New Hampshire this season. He was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. In his second at-bat, he lined out to left field at 103 mph. He also had an amusing moment when he caught a fly ball and briefly started to jog in, thinking it was the third out of the inning (it was the second). Alford pinch-hit for Ryan Goins in Game 2, and struck out, then started Game 3 and went 0-for-3.

Aaron Sanchez was put back on the disabled list Saturday with a blister problem on his finger again. Russell Martin returned from injury the same day. Dwight Smith Jr. was optioned back to Buffalo when Kevin Pillar returned from his suspension. Catcher Mike Ohlman was designated for assignment and pitcher Cesar Valdez was brought up.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

·         After breaking the record last series, Devon Travis has now established a new high for most doubles by a Blue Jays second baseman in one month – he’s currently at 14.

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

Marco Estrada was in fine form in his start on Sunday. He tied his career high of strikeouts, with 12, and his 7 2/3 innings pitched was the farthest he’s gone into a game all year. After two perfect innings to start the game, he allowed just five hits, one run, and one walk. Estrada now has the third-most strikeouts for an AL pitcher (after Chris Sale and Chris Archer).

Devon Travis had multiple hits in all three games this series, going 7-for-11 (.636) overall. He contributed two doubles, a home run, and four runs driven in. Travis is currently leading the Blue Jays in doubles, and all of the majors in extra-base hits for the month of May.

Where We Are Now:
Last in the AL East, 8.0 games back of New York

The bad news is, we just lost Aaron Sanchez to an injury again and if it’s a new blister problem who knows how long that will take to get fixed.

The good news is, the other DL-dwellers are making progress. Russell Martin’s already back, and Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki are playing in rehab games on their way back to the majors.

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