Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Red Sox

 On Monday, Aaron Sanchez allowed seven earned runs and took the loss in the first game of the Toronto Blue Jays' series against the Boston Red Sox. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

On Monday, Aaron Sanchez allowed seven earned runs and took the loss in the first game of the Toronto Blue Jays' series against the Boston Red Sox. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Emily @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays from Away

This was another disappointing series - being swept by a division rival is disappointing no matter what the team’s record.

Game 1: Monday, May 28 (Day game)
Jays lose, 3-8
Losing Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez

Aaron Sanchez allowed seven runs on nine hits, both of which were season highs. Two hits and a force out led to a run scoring for the Red Sox in the first, then David Price walked the first two Blue Jays batters in the second but stranded them. The Jays tied the game in the fourth after Kevin Pillar led off with a double and Kendrys Morales singled to drive him in. But in the bottom half of that inning, the game got away from them, and quickly. The first two batters singled, and then advanced on a passed ball. One scored on a sac fly for the first out of the inning, then a single and a double brought in another run. Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer, making it 6-1, before Sanchez got a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

After Josh Donaldson took a one-out walk in the fifth, Justin Smoak doubled and Donaldson was pulled from the game with calf tightness that flared up while running the bases. The pinch-runner, Gio Urshela, scored on a Yangervis Solarte sac fly. The Red Sox didn’t let that run go unanswered, restoring their five-run lead with a J.D. Martinez leadoff homer in the bottom half. Facing Danny Barnes, they added another in the sixth, after Bradley took a walk, stole second and moved to third when Luke Maile’s pickoff attempt sailed into center field. Bradley scored on a triple from Benintendi that bounced over Russell Martin’s head in left field.

Looking to mount a comeback down six in the seventh, the Jays got back-to-back triples off the bats of Devon Travis and Hernandez (Hernandez’s bounced off the top of the wall, and was almost called a ground-rule double, but review confirmed it as a triple). Justin Smoak walked, putting runners at the corners with one out. But Solarte hit into a double play, ending the inning, and a double from Hernandez was the only baserunner after that, when he doubled in the 9th.

Game 2: Tuesday, May 29
Jays lose, 3-8
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada

Nothing came of it, but there were a lot of hit batters in this game which eventually resulted in the umpire warning both teams. Rick Porcello hit two batters in his 6 2/3 innings, as he allowed three runs (two earned). With the Red Sox out to a 3-0 lead thanks to five hits (four doubles) in the first two innings, Justin Smoak homered to put the Jays on the board. Boston countered with a Brock Holt single, a stolen base where the shortstop Yangervis Solarte dropped the ball, and an RBI single from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Some weird bounces in the sixth led to two more runs, as two different batters hit balls that rebounded off infielders – one hit reliever Joe Biagini, went to Solarte at short, and was scored as a double. A double play ended the inning. After Porcello hit Solarte in the sixth, he went on to hit Russell Martin in the upper arm in the seventh. Kendrys Morales then walked, and Devon Travis singled to load the bases. Curtis Granderson singled to the second baseman, and Porcello couldn’t field the throw at home plate, so two runs scored. He was lifted in favour of Joe Kelly, who struck out the last batter on three pitches.

Xander Bogaerts led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run, widening Boston’s lead to 6-3. Biagini was replaced with Tyler Clippard, who gave up a double and nothing more. Kelly hit Teoscar Hernandez in the elbow, and the game was stopped so that Hernandez, who looked to be in serious pain, could receive medical attention. He stayed in the game. Danny Barnes then hit the first batter, Holt, in the eighth, prompting the warnings. Sandy Leon then homered, giving the game its final score. However, the Jays loaded the bases to start the ninth, then went down quietly once Craig Kimbrel was brought in.

Game 3: Wednesday, May 30 (Day game)
Jays lose, 4-6
Losing Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio

Sam Gaviglio took his first loss of the season despite beginning the game strong. He had two three-up, three-down innings, before the Red Sox scored one run on a three-hit rally in the third. It could have been worse, but Andrew Benintendi was thrown out stealing, and Jackie Bradley Jr.was tagged out by Gaviglio at the plate while trying to score on a wild pitch. Both runners were originally called safe, but the Blue Jays appealed and got both calls overturned after a review. Gaviglio then set down the side in order in the third, before Eduardo Nunez led off the fourth with a home run.

On the other side of the diamond, Eduardo Rodriguez had an even better start. He was perfect through four innings, until Kendrys Morales singled to center field with one out in the fifth. Morales then got caught stealing as part of a strike-em out, throw-em out double play to end the inning, with Rodriguez still having faced the minimum. He walked Gio Urshela with two outs in the sixth, and Urshela came around to score as Teoscar Hernandez launched his eighth homer of the season to tie the game.

Gaviglio departed following a two-run sixth inning. Both runs scored on a J.D. Martinez homer. Gaviglio’s final line was six innings pitched, with four earned runs on seven hits and four strikeouts. He didn’t walk anybody. The Jays stranded a pair after Rodriguez left the game with two outs in the seventh. The first reliever in the game for Toronto, Seunghwan Oh, stranded a single and a walk. Ryan Tepera pitched the eighth and, after a leadoff single, made an error on a force out attempt at second base. Nunez doubled, driving in one, and Brock Holt hit a roller into left field to score another. Tepera got two strikeouts, ending the inning while down 6-2.

The Red Sox brought in Brian Johnson, and he only faced two batters, both of whom singled. That necessitated Craig Kimbrel coming out of the pen for the second game in a row, and he allowed a Morales double that scored both inherited runners. A walk and Morales’ pinch-runner were both stranded as he got three outs to end the game.

Overall Notes:

Josh Donaldson left Game 1 with tightness in his calf. This was the other calf from the the one that had been bothering him earlier in the year.

The Jays didn't have the lead at any point in this series.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

- Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) is the third-ever Blue Jays player to start at four different positions in four consecutive games. That streak began in the Philadelphia series, when he played shortstop Saturday and then caught on Sunday. He then started in left field (for the first time in his career) and third base.

- By not winning any back-to-back games in all of the month of May, they have the dubious distinction of accomplishing something only done three times before in team history (and not since the 70s).

My favourite player(s) this series: Hernandez/Morales/Travis

Nobody was spectacular, but these three players did have multi-hit games. The fact that they were the only three Blue Jays to do so in a three-game series pretty much sums up how this series went. Teoscar Hernandez went 3-for-12 with two doubles, a home run, and three RBI. He also reached base after being hit with a pitch.

Kendrys Morales was the only Blue Jay with two multi-hit games. 5-for-11 overall, Morales hit two doubles, drove in three runs, scored a run, and walked once. He was also robbed of extra bases on Monday by a Jackie Bradley Jr. catch against the wall in deep center field.

Devon Travis ended a mini hit streak by going 0-for-4 on Wednesday, but he’d had hits in each of his last five games before then. In this series, he was 3-for-12 with a triple and scored a run. It’s a small sample size, but he’s slashing .292/.320/.542 in the month of May, far improved over his terrible performance in April. Hopefully he returns to form soon.

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Emily

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.