Series Sum-Up: Mariners vs. Blue Jays

Kevin Pillar had three hits and reclaimed the major league lead in doubles during the Toronto Blue Jays' three-game series against the Seattle Mariners this week. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

Kevin Pillar had three hits and reclaimed the major league lead in doubles during the Toronto Blue Jays' three-game series against the Seattle Mariners this week. Photo Credit: Jay Blue

By Emily @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays from Away

Game 1: Tuesday, May 8
Jays lose, 0-5
Losing Pitcher: Marcus Stroman

The Blue Jays got no-hit, but it was by a Canadian (James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.)) so many fans at the Dome opted to cheer for him in the ninth inning instead. Marcus Stroman was out of the game by the sixth, having allowed all five runs on nine hits and a pair of walks. He only got two strikeouts, but both were on three pitches. Stroman started off with a three-up, three-down inning, then allowed a hit and a walk in the second – both were stranded. He walked leadoff man Ben Gamel in the third, then Dee Gordon doubled, Gamel scored on a ground out, and a single from Nelson Cruz scored Gordon.

The first baserunner Toronto had was a Kendrys Morales leadoff walk on four pitches in the third. Anthony Alford also walked in that inning, putting two on with one out, but a foul pop-up and a force out ended the inning. Paxton only faced those two batters over the minimum – Justin Smoak walked in the fourth, also on four pitches, but he was out on a double play. Paxton set down sixteen batters in a row after that.

Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer in the fourth, doubling Seattle’s lead. Starting the fifth, Stroman loaded the bases on three singles in a row, then a sac fly (also the first out of the inning) scored one. Tim Mayza pitched the sixth and allowed two to reach, then Jake Petricka replaced him to get the third out of the inning. Petricka threw the seventh as well. Kyle Seager robbed Kevin Pillar of a hit down the third-base line in the bottom half, preserving the no-no. Russell Martin hit a fly ball high and deep to centre leading off the eighth inning, but Gamel tracked it down for the out. Paxton got a strikeout in the ninth, but his hardest pitch of the night was his second-last one, 99.5 mph for a called strike right before Josh Donaldson grounded out to third to end the game.

Game 2: Wednesday, May 9
JAYS WIN!!! 5-2
Starting Pitcher: Jaime Garcia
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Tepera
Save: Tyler Clippard

With the roof open at the Dome for the first time this year, and Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) playing third base, the Jays staged a comeback for their only win of the series. Dee Gordon led off the game by reaching on a dropped third strike. He scored on a Jean Segura double, and Segura was then thrown out trying to score on an alert play by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. That was the second out of the inning, but Jaime Garcia then walked one and hit a batter to load the bases. He got a strikeout to leave them loaded.

The other Mariners run came in the third, after Segura grounded a ball back to the mound and Garcia threw it away. Segura advanced to second on the play, and scored on a Mitch Haniger double. Teoscar Hernandez put the Blue Jays on the board in the fourth with a leadoff home run into the Flight Deck (his sixth of the season). Both starters went just five innings, with Garcia having allowed three hits and five walks, and striking out three.

Hernandez led off the sixth with a ball down the right-field line that fans reached for. The umpires originally told him to take third base, but Seattle challenged and he was sent back to second base. He moved to third when Solarte flew out for the second out of the inning. After a pitching change, Hernandez and a walk were stranded. Luke Maile hit a two-out triple in the next inning, and he was also stranded.

Juan Nicasio came in for the eighth inning and gave up five hits, four of them doubles. The only out he got was Kevin Pillar trying to stretch his single into a double. Josh Donaldson, Yangervis Solarte, Justin Smoak and Russell Martin all doubled and scored. Solarte, Smoak and Pillar got RBI (Donaldson had led off, and Martin came up with the bases empty after Pillar was thrown out). Then Nicasio was pulled, and Maile singled, scoring Martin. He advanced to third second on the throw to home, and to third on a wild pitch. Tyler Clippard pitched the 9th and, after a leadoff single, he got a flyout and two strikeouts for the save.

Game 3: Friday, May 10
Jays lose, 3-9
Losing Pitcher: J.A. Happ

For the Blue Jays, this game got out hand quickly and stayed that way. In the first inning, J.A. Happ had two out and two on when he walked Ryon Healy, and then Kyle Seager hit a grand slam. The next two batters reached on an infield single and a walk before he could get the third out, having faced nine batters and thrown 38 pitches in the frame. Josh Donaldson doubled in the bottom half, but was stranded on third base. Happ’s struggles continued with a leadoff double in the next inning that scored, putting Seattle ahead 5-0.

Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) got the Jays on the board with a two-run homer in the secnd inning, but the Mariners quickly countered when Healy led off with a home run of his own. Happ was finished one out into the fourth, after loading the bases on singles and allowing one to score on a sac fly. With a final line of seven earned runs on nine hits, two walks and three strikeouts, Happ saw his rotation-best ERA slip from 3.67 to 4.80 (now second-best, behind Aaron Sanchez).

The Mariners had their leadoff man reach seven times, and scored six of those times, including each of the first five innings of the game. Three of those were on home runs: Healy in the third, Seager in the fifth, for his second homer of the day. Jake Petricka, who replaced Happ, walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases, but then got a double play to get out of it. He then allowed Seager’s homer before stranding a pair.

The Jays had two on with one out in the sixth, and Teoscar Hernandez hit a fly ball that was caught at the centre-field wall. Justin Smoak struck out to end the inning. Mike Leake went seven innings, and they then loaded the bases with nobody out for Yangervis Solarte in the eighth, but he hit into a double play which scored just one run. That time Hernandez struck out to end it. Aaron Loup pitched two innings with two hits and a walk, and Tim Mayza was the only pitcher to strand a leadoff man – Robinson Cano hit a leadoff ground-rule double in the eighth but didn’t score. Mike Zunino hit a leadoff homer in the ninth. The Jays had eight hits; the Mariners, 17.

Overall Notes:

Closer Roberto Osuna was arrested in Toronto early on Tuesday for an assault against a woman, which I wrote about here. He was placed on Administrative Leave by the league, but the Blue Jays were allowed to bring up another player in his place. They chose to call up reliever Jake Petricka.

Aledmys Diaz was placed on the 10-day disabled list before this series started, due to a sprained ankle he sustained in the last series. Richard Urena was called up in his place. On Wednesday, the Blue Jays made a trade with Cleveland, acquiring third baseman Gio Urshela for a player to be named later.

This series featured all four Canadian players in the American League. The Jays have three of those players in Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.), Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.), and John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.)

Weirdly Specific Record Alerts:

- Tuesday’s game was the first time a Canadian pitcher had thrown a no-hitter for or against a Canadian team, or on Canadian soil.

- Kevin Pillar is currently leading MLB in doubles, after hitting his 16th of the year in Game 3 of this series

My favourite player(s) this series: Garcia/Donaldson/Pillar/Hernandez

Jaime Garcia’s start on Wednesday was short, as he was lifted after five innings, but that was probably due to his pitch count (92 at the time). He struggled with command in the first inning, allowing a runner to reach on a third-strike wild pitch, and hitting a batter. But he settled in after that, allowing two hits in the third (one an infield single) and none after that. He walked five and struck out three. One of his two runs allowed was unearned. It wasn’t an amazing start, but he went longer than 3 1/3 innings, and he allowed fewer than five runs, so he did significantly better than the other starters in this series. His ERA also dropped from the 6.00 it ballooned to with his last start to 5.40.

None of the batters did particularly well in this series (they got no-hit in Game 1, after all) but Josh Donaldson, Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez stood out. Donaldson collected four hits, two of them doubles, and scored once. He also started off that rally of doubles that led to their eventual win in Game 2.

Pillar had three hits, one double, one run scored, and an RBI. He reclaimed the MLB lead in doubles, putting him one ahead of Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar. He also made an impressive sliding catch in Game 3 on a pop-up that it looked like no fielder would get to. Pillar still leads the team’s eligible hitters in batting average, and has a .315/.359/.538 slash line.

Hernandez had three hits, which all came in Game 2. He hit a home run and a double, and nearly had another home run in Game 3. He currently leads the team in slugging with a .552 mark.

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