Toronto Blue Jays come out swinging early to grab a 5-3 win and secure a series win against the Baltimore Orioles.
After the late inning loss last night Toronto looked to get back to their winning ways with the return of the hard throwing, Aaron Sanchez. The youngster made his first start since returning from his 10-day hiatus in Dunedin.
It seems his teammates were happy to have him back as they jumped all over Baltimore’s starter in the first inning. In fact, Jose Bautista swatted his 17th home run of the season on the first pitch of the ballgame.
Not to be out done, Russell Martin, clobbered his 16th, this one of the two run variety to drive in Michael Saunders who walked in front of him. Just like that the lead was 3-0, and the blue birds were in flight.
The score would stay that way through four innings despite Toronto making a push in both the second and third innings, respectively. The third was particularly frustrating when Martin hit into an inning ending 5U-3 double play after Saunders was intentionally walked in front of him.
On a little more of a serious note, umpire Jerry Layne, was knocked out of the game after catching a Sanchez fastball of his face mask. Layne who looked rattled after the play left the field with help from the Orioles’ trainer. He was replaced by Alan Porter.
Sanchez would keep the Orioles high-octane offense at bay for 4 2/3 innings before a hiccup in the fifth inning. After securing the first two outs with four pitches, the right-hander surrendered consecutive singles to Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop. Baltimore’s third baseman Manny Machado hit, what looked like an inning ending ground ball, but an error by Josh Donaldson allowed Kim to score. Sanchez would walk Chris Davis next to load the bases, but managed to get Mark Trumbo to hit a lazy fly ball to right field to end the inning. Crisis averted, and the Blue Jays escaped with a 3-1 lead.
In all, Sanchez pitched well in his return, however, he did labour through his last two innings of work. Not completely unexpected when factoring in his layoff and the Orioles lineup. He would leave the game after six solid innings, and a 3-1 lead, with a final line of 6IP, 5H, 1ER, 3BB and 2K. He would do so on 112 pitches, 67 which were strikes.
Toronto would add to their lead in the seventh inning thanks to an RBI double down the left field line by Devon Travis. His clutch hit would cash in Dioner Navarro all the way from first base. Navarro reached on his second single of the night earlier in the inning.
DIONER NAVARRO RUMBLING DOT GIF pic.twitter.com/TGSVw4QlQA
— Richard Lee-Sam (@RLeesam) September 1, 2016
Michael Saunders would continue his torrid pace against the Orioles this season. The Canadian native connected on a Brad Brach fastball to drive his 24th home run, and his seventh against Baltimore this season. His solo shot extended Toronto’s lead to 5-1.
Roberto Osuna would come in for the ninth inning to close the game out, but would run into some trouble. Osuna would get the first out of the inning despite taking a line drive off his glove hand and staying in the game. Nolan Reimold would follow with a sharp single before Schoop delivered a long home run to get the Orioles to within two. Fortunately, a fly out off the bat of Machado would end the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Tonight’s play of the game came courtesy of Devon Travis. After a walk to Davis, Sanchez got Trumbo to hit a weak pop up to shallow centerfield. For a moment it looked like it would fall in, but Travis had other plans.
“You talk about range…there’s range.” – MASN broadcast on Devon Travis’ catch pic.twitter.com/HKR6e0fLz9
— Richard Lee-Sam (@RLeesam) September 1, 2016
Tonight’s JFtC game ball goes to Michael Saunders. The left fielder went 1 for 2 on the night with 2 walks, 2 runs scored, with an RBI. He also added his 24th HR of the season.
Tonight turning point came in the Orioles’ half of the fifth inning. After loading the bases with two outs, Sanchez was able to escape the inning with no further damage. Despite it being a 3-1 lead for Toronto, a big hit could have changed the momentum of the game.
NEWS & NOTES
The voice of the Lansing Lugnuts, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, posted and excellent interview with Lansing’s pitching coach, Jeff Ware. Give it a listen for some excellent insight on a few of the organization’s top pitching prospects.
Pitching coach Jeff Ware’s thoughts on Reid-Foley, Perdomo, Harris, Borucki, Romano, Zeuch, DeGraaf, and more: https://t.co/xSpVxh7KA9
— Jesse G-S (@jgoldstrass) August 31, 2016
Toronto has an off day on Thursday before heading to Tampa for a three game series with the Rays. Check out website on Thursday afternoon for our series preview.
*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.