The Toronto Blue Jays will live to see another day after getting their first win against Cleveland’s Kluber and company
Today the Toronto Blue Jays were back in a spot they hadn’t been since the Wild Card. Everything on the line, today’s game was do or die for the Blue Jays. Win and live to fight another day, or lose and take your bat and ball and go home. Toronto would put all of their hopes on the shoulders of young Aaron Sanchez in conjunction with the hopes that the offense would find their stride once again. Following a blood shortened outing from Trevor Bauer, Cleveland would send 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to counter on only 3 days of rest. Every. Pitch. Mattered.
CLEVELAND: 1 VS. TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 5
WP: SANCHEZ (1-0) LP: KLUBER (1-1)
— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) October 18, 2016
Aaron Sanchez came out of the gates absolutely firing on all cylinders. This included his curveball looking absolutely ridiculous. In the bottom of the third, a lead off double from Tyler Naquin threatened the excellent start. A sacrifice bunt from Roberto Perez advanced Naquin to third with only two out, Cleveland in prime position for the early lead. Sanchez responded, however, getting Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis to ground out to Ryan Goins to end the inning.
— Pitcher List (@ThePitcherList) October 18, 2016
Toronto finally did something they haven’t done all series long. They took the lead. In the bottom of the third , none other than the Bringer of Rain would blast a solo shot to left center field.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 18, 2016
The Jays would keep things rolling in the bottom of the fourth. Following a much-needed shutdown inning from Sanchez, back to back walks put Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin on with none away. Michael Saunders wouldn’t be able to capitalize, striking out, but Ezequiel Carrera would make no mistake. A bloop single to center cashed in Tulowitzki putting the Jays up by two.
With the team in trouble in the top of the fifth, Carlos Santana drilled a ball in between Tulo and Donaldson on what looked like a sure RBI. Donaldson wasn’t about to let that happen, though. Donaldson ranged to his left laying out and making a spectacular diving grab and through to get Santana at first.
The bullpen came in in relief after a gem of an outing from Aaron Sanchez. Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli, and Roberto Osuna would all perform admirably rolling through the Cleveland lineup. The three would post a combined line of 3IP, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, and 4K.
The Blue Jays offense would come alive and pad the lead in the bottom of the seventh. With Bryan Shaw pitching for Cleveland trying to keep things close, Toronto would do the opposite. Ryan Goins started things off with a line drive to left. Jose Bautista would follow, chopping the ball down the third base line.
Shaw was unable to execute the tough play to get Bautista at first, overthrowing the bag. The overthrow allowed Bautista to reach safely, and Goins to advance to third. With Donaldson at the plate, Terry Francona decided to walk the slugger and face Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin made Francona pay for his decision, ripping a ball center cashing in both Goins and Bautista. The single put the Jays up 4-1, and that’s how the seventh would end.
The Jays scored again in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead even further. Ezequiel Carrera (who else) ripped a triple with one out. Kevin Pillar then hit a deep fly ball to right that Brandon Guyer would have to make an amazing play on to get the out. It would be deep enough, however, to score Carrera.
Sanchez would finally show a crack in the armor allowing a run to score in the top of the fifth. Sanchez walked Coco Crisp with one out, who would then advance on a curve in the dirt that Tyler Naquin struck out on. Sanchez then gave up a double to the nine hitter, Roberto Perez, allowing Crisp to come in and close the gap on the Jays lead.
Jose Bautista and Russell Martin continued to struggle at the plate going a combined 0 for 8. The Jays could sure use both of them firing on all cylinders for the remainder of the series.
Nitpicking, the Jays were only 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. This is also something the team would like to see improve.
NEWS & NOTES:
- Kluber started the game by completing 16 straight innings without giving up a run, setting a team record. The next hitter was Donaldson’s solo shot.
- The Jays keep their hopes alive in an attempt to be only the second team in history to come back from a 3-0 deficit. The Jays and Cleveland go tomorrow at 4:00pm EST.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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A group benefits consultant by day, Dustin is sports fanatic who loves talking sports more than anything. A self-glossed stats geek, he loves diving into the numbers behind the game. A proud father of 2 amazing kids, Dustin was born in Calgary, and now lives in Morinville.