Blue Jays Get Quality Start from Dickey, Fall in Extras

Toronto Blue Jays send Dickey to the mound hoping he can find his way in Baltimore

 

Toronto headed into Wednesday’s night game riding a season high three game win streak. A streak which helped them climb back above the .500 mark (8-7) for the first time since their opening series in Tampa, and to within 1.5 games of the division leading Orioles.

Looking to make it a four game streak, the Blue Jays sent struggling knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took the mound tonight looking to get out of the funk he has found himself in early this season. Unfortunately, his first inning woes continued surrendering three runs in the first inning, which could have been more if not for a well turned around-the-horn double play.  Dickey settled in for the next five innings, surrendering only two hits and a walk to help keep Toronto within striking distance. His final line for the night of (6IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 4K) qualifies him for his first quality start of the season.

Toronto’s offense was able to get runners on base early against Baltimore’s starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, two each in the first two innings, but were unable to capitalize thanks to a double play to end the first, and strikeouts of Kevin Pillar and Josh Thole squashed the rally in the second.

The Jays scratched one back in the third after Michael Saunders, who lead-off with a walk, was able to score on a Manny Machado error off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Despite the lack of early success, they were able to drive up Jimenez’s pitch count to ninety-four (94) by the end of the fourth, but left six runners on-base in the process.

Slugger Josh Donaldson was able to cut into the Orioles lead with his American League leading sixth (6) home run in the fifth inning. An opposite field shot off Jimenez’s one-hundredth pitch of the game.

With what may have been the bonehead play of the evening, Saunders got caught in-between decisions while at third base on a Jose Bautista fly ball. What should have been a routine sac-fly turned into a simple out after an excellent diving play by Baltimore’s center fielder Adam Jones. Luckily Encarnacion doubled in the next at-bat to drive in what should have already been the tying run.

With neither starter getting past the sixth, the late innings came down to a battle of bullpens. Toronto leaned on Gavin Floyd for two innings (7, 8) where despite allowing a two out double in the eighth, he tossed up two zeroes before handing the ball off to Drew Storen for the ninth. Storen allowed a 1-out single, which was erased by an excellent Thole throw during an attempted steal of second, and induced a fly out off the bat of J.J. Hardy to end the inning. 

Rookie Joe Biagini took the ball for the tenth inning – the first extra inning game of 2016 for the Blue Jays – working to get two quick outs before surrendering a double, a softly hit infield single, and the unintentional-intentional walk to Manny Machado. Unfortunately a passed ball charged to Thole allowed the winning run to score. Not the way you want to see a game to end but, considering how it started, it was a far cry from where it looked to be heading.

Play of the Game:

Oriole Joey Rickard lined a Dickey pitch to Chris Colabello‘s right which took a fantastic stretch and leap to haul it in. Outside of the catch itself, the best part may have been Dickey’s reaction.

Game Ball:

Tonight’s game ball goes to DH Edwin Encarnacion who went two-for-four – raising his season average to .317 – with two runs-batted in on the evening.

Turning Point:

The two out rally for the Orioles – aided by some luck – in the tenth inning was the turning point in this game. Not much could be done about it, and it’s why baseball is both lovely and infuriating at the same time.

News & Notes:

Neither relief pitcher Jesse Chavez or Roberto Osuna were available in this game. Chavez was off due to a mild strain in his back he incurred while playing catch. There wasn’t a reason given for Osuna, however, it may be related to the blister issue he had in Boston.

Next Game:

The Blue Jays take on Baltimore for the last game of the three game series on Thursday night. Toronto’s Marco Estrada will take the mound against Orioles’ Chris Tillman. Check out the series preview here.

 

 

*Feature Image Credit: Keith Allison under CC BY-SA 2.0

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W Black

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.