The Toronto Blue Jays double their win total on the year, breaking their losing streak and hoping to have turned their fortunes around.
So much has been made about the terrible 1-9 start to the season. While many have written off the post season, right now, they focus is just trying to get through April with more additions to the win column. In an attempt to do that, Toronto sent Marco Estrada to the mound. And he was on point for this one. He kept the Blue Jays in the game until they could scrape together some kind of offensive output.
Baltimore Orioles: 1 R, 6 H, 0 E
Toronto Blue Jays: 2 R, 6 H, 0 E
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) April 15, 2017
Estrada started off the first inning a little shaky, finding the strike zone to be a little elusive. He surrendered a double to leadoff hitter, Seth Smith and a walk to Manny Machado, but he was able to right the ship by the end of the inning, striking out Mark Trumbo. The second inning saw him zero in on the zone much better and he gave up just a bunt single (against the shift) to Hyun Soo Kim.
In the bottom of the first, Kevin Pillar stroked a beauty single to right field. If he can add opposite field ot his game, he very well could have a nice year. Number 2 hitter, Ezequiel Carrera (let that sink in) bunted Pillar to second. For all of the people who scream for small ball, this would surely be a welcome sight. Though, having your #2 hitter bunt, in the first inning of a home game is not exactly the bets form of baseball. Though, a struggling offense might try anything. A passed ball allowed Pillar to scamper to third. After a Bautista strike out and a Morales walk to put runners on first and third, Troy Tulowitzki popped up to third in foul territory. Given how the inning went, this could probably go in the Lowlights section…
In the 3rd inning, Estrada found a little bit of trouble when Adam Jones singled to LF and Manny Machado earned his second free pass in as many at bats. But, as we’ve seen many times from Estrada, he buckled down and ended the inning on a Chris Davis strike out and a Mark Trumbo fly out to CF. He was grooving the next inning as he was able to get the umpire to appreciate living on the edge of the zone. His 5th inning was even easier as he was keeping the O’s hitters off balance. After a rocky couple of batters to start the game, he was certainly locked in as the game went on.
He ran into trouble in the 7th inning when he gave up a double to Jonathan Schoop who went to third on a passed ball that Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed by a mile. Joe Biagini started to warm in the ‘pen. With 2 out, Estrada walked Seth Smith, which brought his pitch count up to 105. He was able to get Adam Jones to pop out to end the threat and keep the game at a scoreless tie. His final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 8 K, ZERO ER
In the bottom of the 7th, Jose Bautista took advantage of an inside pitch that scraped his jersey to get on base. Troy Tulowtizki followed that with a reaching single up the middle. It wasn’t pretty, but it was enough to chase Baltimore starter, Alec Asher, who was just as effective as Estrada, if not more so. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Darwin Barney was called on to pinch hit for Chris Coghlan and he ripped single to center, where Adam Jones came up firing in an attempt to nab a charging Bautista. Catcher, Welington Castillo couldn’t hold on to the throw and Bautista was safe. That gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Joe Biagini came on to relieve Estrada and protect that ever precious lead in the 8th and gave up a bat shattering infield single to Manny Machado. The Blue Jays used the shift against Chris Davis and it paid off with a beautiful double play pulled off by Ryan Goins and Tulowitzki. It snuffed any rally and Biagini got out of the inning unscathed.
When spin moves are life. pic.twitter.com/6c9Qv8QAwk
— MLB (@MLB) April 15, 2017
After a bit of a deflating top half of the 9th (see below), Kendrys Morales stepped to the plate and endeared himself to the hometown crowd with a walkoff HR. The exit velocity on his shot was 104.3 mph with a distance of 413 ft. He hit the first pitch he saw, a hanging breaking ball.
— Mark Feigenbaum (@feigenbaumlaw) April 15, 2017
The Blue Jays bats started the game in much the same fashion as the previous 10. They had trouble making contact with much of anything. Through the first 3 innings, they had one hit- the leadoff single from Pillar. It was painful to watch Baltimore starter, Alec Asher, mix in offspeed stuff and stay out of the middle of the plate. They couldn’t come up with an answer.
Roberto Osuna came in for the save in the 9th inning and gave up a comeback single off his leg to Castillo. Craig Gentry came on to pinch run and stole second. A deep sacrifice fly by Kim allowed Gentry to tag and move to third with one out. Schoop hit a flyball to Pillar in center and Gentry tagged and scored to tie the game. It was a blown save for Osuna and deflating for everyone watching.
Teams across MLB were celebrating Jackie Robinson Day by wearing the number 42 on every uniform. Robinson made his MLB debut on this day in 1947, breaking the color barrier, and to honor his achievement MLB instituted this gesture.
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) April 15, 2017
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