The Toronto Blue Jays coughed up a four run lead early, but rallied in the ninth to steal the opener from the Rangers.
The Toronto Blue Jays were at Globe Life Park in Arlington for the first time (regular season) since the infamous brawl last May. This time it’s for a four game series that runs through Thursday. Toronto sent the struggling Marco Estrada to the mound (4-5, 4.54) to take on the Rangers and their 32-year-old rookie pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 3.28).
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 19, 2017
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) June 19, 2017
Toronto Blue Jays: 7 R, 10 H, 0 E
Texas Rangers: 6 R, 7 H, 0 E
The big man, Justin Smoak, wasted little time in getting the Blue Jays on the board during their half of the second inning. He took a 0-0 fastball to right-field for his 20th of the season, tying a his career high.
After coming to the plate for his second at-bat to a chorus of expected boos from the Rangers crowd, Jose Bautista, launched his 12th home run of the season deep into the left-field seats for a 2-1 lead. It’s what he does best!
After Bautista’s dinger, the offense kept chugging along. Kendrys Morales got it started with a double off the wall, Smoak dropped a single into left, and Martin drew a two-out walk to load the bases for Steve Pearce. Pearce, who has been hitting well since his return from the disabled list, drilled a bases clearing double to the wall in left for a 5-1 Blue Jays lead.
Aaron Loup came into the game with the bases loaded and only one out, thanks to three straight walks from Leone. The lefty came up huge by striking out Shin-Soo Choo on a nasty slider away, and getting Andrus on a 1-3 groundout to end the inning. Job well done!
A ninth inning rally started with a hustle double from Ryan Goins of all people, which got the Toronto offense flowing. GoGo would scamper in to tie the game on a Josh Donaldson single, who would later score on a Morales single after stealing second base. They would end up stranding the bases loaded, but managed to score two runs and grab a 7-6 lead off Texas closer, Matt Bush.
Despite the hiccup from Leone in the fifth inning, the bullpen combination of Leone (0.2 IP), Aaron Loup (1.2 P), Jason Grilli (1.0 IP), Jeff Beliveau (1.0), Roberto Osuna (1.0, 18th Save) put together 5.1 IP of shutout work tonight. In fact, they combined to retire 14 consecutive Texas batters from the fifth inning on.
The Blue Jays have now gone six straight games giving up runs in the first inning. Tonight’s culprit was a two-out home run to right-centre by Nomar Mazara. It also meant Toronto’s opponents have scored first in nine of their last eleven games.
With a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the fourth inning, it appeared Estrada may be able work his was through a successful start. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case. The right-hander would surrender three walks in the inning, sandwiched around a two-out, two RBI single from Elvis Andrus, and a two-out, three-run double from Adrian Beltre to give the Rangers a 6-5 lead. The last knock would drive him from the game after only 3.2 IP and 6 ER. Pushing his ERA on the season to 4.98.
Dominic Leone, who came in to help Estrada escape the fourth inning, had his own issues in the fifth. After getting Carlos Gomez to fly-out to start the inning, he proceeded to walk the next three hitters to load the bases. This gave the Jays pitching staff its seventh walk on the evening, and six in the last 1.1 IP.
- Blue Jays announce they’ve signed 4th rounder Kevin Smith, a college SS (Maryland). Area scout: Doug Witt – per Ben Nicholson-Smith
- Blue Jays’ 95 HR have accounted for 163 of their 291 runs. That’s 56 % of runs via HR. Per
@STATS_MLB, would be highest rate in MLB history. – per Ben Nicholson-Smith
- The organizations’s #5 prospect, Bo Bichette, who had himself a terrific week (5 G, .476/.476/.762, 3 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 SB) was added to MLB Pipeline’s Team of the Week.
- Wait for it… Joe Smith (shoulder inflammation) on DL, L. Campos called up. Ryan Tepera now setup guy – per Hazel Mae.
Player of the Game
— W.B. (@Every5thDay) June 20, 2017
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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.