Series Sum-Up: Blue Jays vs. Royals

Jose Bautista went 6-for 14 (.429 batting average) in the Toronto Blue Jays' three-game series against the Kansas City Royals last weekend. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Jose Bautista went 6-for 14 (.429 batting average) in the Toronto Blue Jays' three-game series against the Kansas City Royals last weekend. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By: Emily (@JaysGirlEmily)

Canadian Baseball Network

Game 1: Friday, June 23
Jays lose, 4-5
Starting Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Losing Pitcher: Aaron Loup (blown save)

Jose Bautista led off the game with a single, but was then caught stealing. Dwight Smith Jr. singled in the 2nd and advanced on a balk, but was stranded. In the 3rd, Bautista reached on a deep single to right-centre field, and Russell Martin reached afterwards on a ball knocked down by Mike Moustakas. Both were stranded.

The first hit (and first baserunner) the Royals got against Happ was a Jorge Bonifacio double with one out in the 4th. That was after the Jays had taken a 2-0 lead when Kendrys Morales was hit with a pitch, Troy Tulowitzki scored him with a double, then Tulowitzki moved to third and scored on a wild pitch. Happ gave up a leadoff double to Lorenzo Cain in the 7th, then Eric Hosmer reached on a Ryan Goins error and Cain scored on a Salvador Perez single. Happ got two outs, then Danny Barnes came in to get the third.

In the 8th, Smith misjudged a fly ball which resulted in a double for Whit Merrifield. Bonifacio popped out to Martin, and Ryan Tepera struck out Lorenzo Cain to end the inning. In the top of the 9th, the Jays added some insurance runs with a Bautista single, a Martin walk, a Josh Donaldson RBI single and a pinch-hit RBI single from Justin Smoak.

Perez led off the 9th with a double that was over Smith’s head, then two outs later Tepera walked Brandon Moss and Perez got to third because the pitch got away from Martin. Alcides Escobar singled on a bloop to RF to score Perez, and Aaron Loup replaced Tepera. Loup threw one pitch, which Alex Gordon hit into center field, scoring Moss. Jason Grilli came in and Merrifield doubled to score a pair and walk the game off for the Royals. They had trailed all game. The Jays gave up a three-run lead with two outs.

Game 2: Saturday, June 24
Jays lose, 2-3
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada

The Blue Jays took the lead in the 2nd when Troy Tulowitzki hit a solo home run, his third of the season, off Jason Vargas. The Royals took that run back in the 3rd, when Alcides Escobar tripled on a ball that fell between Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista (neither outfielder called it), and Whit Merrifield drove him in with a sac fly. The Blue Jays challenged that Escobar was out at the plate, but after review the safe call was upheld.

In the 4th, Eric Hosmer put Kansas City ahead 2-1 with a leadoff home run, after which Estrada struck out five of the next ten batters, while stranding a pair of runners in the 5th. The Blue Jays got leadoff singles in the 4th and 5th innings, but hit into double plays both times. In the 7th, Kevin Pillar hit a solo home run, his ninth of the year, to tie the game. Unfortunately, Escobar singled and scored on an Alex Gordon triple. Estrada was out after the 7th, having allowed three runs, four walks and six strikeouts. Three of the five hits he allowed were for extra bases.

Game 3: Sunday, June 25
JAYS WIN!!! 8-2
Winning Pitcher: Francisco Liriano

The Royals scored their first run in the 1st inning on a Jorge Bonifacio solo home run. Facing Jason Hammel, the Jays stranded a double in that inning, and a walk and a single in each of the next two innings. The next hit Francisco Liriano allowed was a leadoff double in the 4th, also to Bonifacio. Eric Hosmer then plated the run with a single. That lead was short-lived, however, as Jose Bautista tied the game in the top of the 5th with a two-run home run, his 13th of the season. He scored Ryan Goins, who had led off the inning with a single.

With Hammel out of the game in the 6th, Bautista then drove in the go-ahead run when the Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out on a single and two walks – Bautista walked to force the run home. Russell Martin reached on a Cheslor Cuthbert fielding error, which scored another run. Then Josh Donaldson doubled, scoring another pair before the first out was recorded. Reliever Peter Moylan was ejected from the game (during a pitching change) for arguing with the home plate umpire. Moylan had been visibly upset with a ball called on Bautista, and started arguing then, but wasn’t ejected at that time.

Kendrys Morales drove in another run with a fielder’s choice, on which Martin dove into the plate to score. Bautista plated another run with a single the following inning, after Pillar led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground out. Liriano was done after a leadoff double and a walk in the 7th; he left with two on and none out but Danny Barnes got three fly ball outs to leave the pair aboard. Liriano’s six innings pitched yielded two runs on six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts.

The 8th inning ended on an unusual play which saw Lorenzo Cain single with two outs, then move to second on defensive indifference – Hosmer singled, and Cain ran home, but Pillar threw the ball in and Hosmer was thrown out trying to reach second. The run didn’t score because Cain, jogging casually, hadn’t touched home plate yet by the time Hosmer was tagged out. The Royals challenged, and the call was upheld.

Roberto Osuna made his first appearance in this series (more information on that in the next section) in the 9th inning. He struck out Perez and Cuthbert before allowing an infield single to Alcides Escobar - Troy Tulowitzki airmailed first base on the play. Osuna then came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Ramon Torres looking.

Overall Notes:

Ian Parmley made his major-league debut in the first game of this series. The 27-year-old outfielder went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a sacrifice bunt. He was then a defensive replacement in the late innings of the other two games.

On Friday night, Roberto Osuna was not put into the game, even when things got dicey in the 9th. On Satuday, he announced that he had been dealing with some feelings of anxiety over the last few days and wasn’t sure how to handle them. He wasn’t available to pitch that day either, but came into the game for an inning on Sunday. I’m planning to address this topic in more detail at some point, but I just wanted to briefly say I’m glad he’s gotten the support of his teammates, and truly hope he takes all the time he needs to feel better.

Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

·         With his 4-RBI performance on Sunday, Jose Bautista tied Joe Carter for the 4th-most RBI in Blue Jays history with 736.

·         Francisco Liriano recorded his 100th career win with the game on Sunday.

My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Happ/Tulowitzki/Bautista

J.A. Happ had a fantastic outing on Friday, but unfortunately the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. In 6 2/3 innings of work, Happ allowed one run on four hits, and didn’t walk anybody. Seventy-three of 105 pitches he threw were for strikes (69.5%). His ERA for the season is now below 4 for the first time since April, at a 3.83. He’s had an ERA of 3.28 over four outings in the month of June.

Troy Tulowitzki was 5-for-13 with a walk, a double and a home run in this three-game series. Tulo also drove in a pair of runs, and scored twice.

With 6 hits in 14 at-bats, Jose Bautista hit .429 in this series, with a home run, a walk, three runs scored, and four driven in. His most productive game was Friday night, when he went 3-for-5. 

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