Blue Jays’ Marco Estrada got back to his old ways tonight with a masterful performance over the Orioles in Baltimore.
Final Score: Toronto 5, Orioles 1
One a night where two of the best offenses in MLB where squaring the story during the early going was the generous strike zone from umpire Alan Porter. While his calls were generous they were, at least, consistent.
J.J. Hardy opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd with a solo home run to LF. Melvin Upton had an excellent chance at making the play but it was snagged by a fan. Not interference, but so close to being a great play.
After being robbed of an extra-base hit in the first inning, Josh Donaldson exacted some revenge in the fourth with his 34th home run on the season. His blast would tie the game at one apiece, and help ignite a Toronto rally.
Following Donaldson dinger Toronto would add on another run when Edwin Encarnacion scored on a Troy Tulowitzki RBI single to leftfield. Russell Martin would get caught in a rundown attempting to make sure the throw would be cut. The play may have been unnecessary, but either way, they had the lead after four innings, 2-1.
Jose Bautista would make his presence felt in this game. First on the defensive side of the ball in the bottom of the fourth, then again in the top of the sixth where he swatted his 16th home run of the season.
Toronto’s starter Marco Estrada put in one of his vintage outings against the hard-hitting Orioles lineup. Despite falling being to a few hitters to start the game, Estrada, used his full arsenal to get through his night. It was evident from the first inning on that Martin and Estrada had made plans to use the breaking pitch more often than previous starts. With Estrada having seen the Orioles lineup a few times already this year, it proved to be an excellent game plan.
Estrada’s final line 7 IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 4K was a welcomed start for Gibbons and company. Having to get six outs from the bullpen for the first game of a nine game A.L. East road trip, is an excellent beginning.
To his credit Baltimore’s Wade Miley held his own tonight facing a hot hitting Blue Jays’ offense. Miley may have been the benefactor of Porter’s generous zone, however, he executed the pitches when required. His night would come to an end after seven complete, where he surrendered only five hits and three earned runs (7IP, 5H, 3ER, 9K). Considering he was carrying an ERA north of eight with the Orioles, it was a great night for the lefty.
The Blue Jays offense would add a couple of insurance run in their half of the ninth inning of Orioles’ retread reliever Tommy Hunter. Melvin Upton got things going with a walk before Pillar singled passed a diving Manny Machado. Justin Smoak, who has located his swing of late, delivered an RBI single to right field for a 4-1 lead. Devon Travis would get in on the action with a 4-3 ground out that cashed in Kevin Pillar. A productive out pushed the lead to 5-1.
Toronto’s bullpen combination of Joe Biagini (8th) and Joaquin Benoit (9th) managed to keep the Orioles lineup at bay during their respective innings of work. Neither pitcher would surrender a hit, and they would combine for three strikeouts.
This win has pushed the Baltimore Orioles five games back in the American League East Division. Toronto has an opportunity this week to do some serious damage to their divisional hopes.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nolan Reimold would make the play of the game with one out in the top of the first inning. A hard smash off the bat of Donaldson was on its way to, what looked like a sure double, before Reimold ran it down.
The JFtC game ball goes to Marco Estrada. After struggling to an ERA of 8.36 over his last three starts, his seven innings of one run ball was exactly what the doctor ordered. For both him and the Blue Jays.
— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) August 30, 2016
Tonight’s turning point, as it turns out, came in the Blue Jays half of the fourth inning. Toronto’s offense pushed across two runs to take a 2-1 lead. Estrada, Biagini and Benoit would make sure the lead held up while giving the offense a chance to add insurance runs.
NEWS & NOTES
Barry Davis tweeted a video of Dioner Navarro arriving at Camden Yards before the game this evening. If that’s not a face of a guy who’s happy to be back, I don’t know what is. You can also listen to his interview here.
— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) August 29, 2016
On the lighter side, Ben Nicholson-Smith dropped this little nugget about Mark Buehrle. Papa Buehrle never disappoints.
John Gibbons recently texted Mark Buehrle saying “you know, rosters expand in September.” Buehrle texted back a picture of a lake.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 29, 2016
Toronto will stay in Baltimore for the next two nights squaring off against the Orioles. Tomorrow night’s game will feature J.A. Happ facing Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. Check out our series preview for a breakdown of each starter and how they have fared against each respective lineup
**Featured Image Credit:Keith Allison (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.