The Toronto Blue Jays welcome the Chicago White Sox and their league leading pitching staff to Rogers Centre
FINAL: White Sox 7, @BlueJays 5.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 26, 2016
Toronto welcomed back an old foe tonight to the Rogers Centre in ex-Baltimore Oriole Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was released in April by the Orioles, was called up to make a spot start in place of struggling lefty, John Danks. The right-handed pitcher had been pitching for the Charlotte Knights in the AAA International League with a record of 1-0, 2.45 ERA over two starts.
The Blue Jays had some roster shuffles of their own, with Russell Martin still listed as day-to-day with a neck strain still out, Josh Thole assumed the catching duties. Kevin Pillar was also sitting tonight in favour of Ezequiel Carrera, with Josh Donaldson filling the DH spot, and Edwin Encarnacion at first base.
Toronto’s starting pitcher Marcus Stroman put together another nice start on this evening. After running into a spot of trouble in the first from two ground ball hits from Adam Eaton and Jimmy Rollins and surrendering one run, he settled in nicely. Over the next five innings he induced a lot of soft contact from the Chicago bats.
The Blue Jays offense took little time to get rolling in this game. After a one out double by Josh Donaldson, and a walk by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion delivered a double of his own to drive in both baserunners in the bottom of the first, giving Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Bautista got the offense going again in the third inning with a double, and scored on a single from Encarnacion. After Encarnacion was thrown out at third trying to take an extra base on a Tulowitzki flare to right field, Michael Saunders delivered a two-run home run to dead centerfield to give Toronto a 5-1 lead.
White Sox starter, Gonzalez, left the game after 5 1/3 innings having given up eleven hits, five earned runs, and was replaced by Zach Putnam who closed out the sixth inning.
Unfortunately the seventh inning was Stroman’s unraveling. Two base hits from Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia, and a walk to Austin Jackson left the bases loaded with two outs, meant Stroman was lifted for reliever Brett Cecil.
Cecil was unable to record an out, allowing an RBI singles to Eaton and Jimmy Rollins before walking Jose Abreu to load the bases once again. This closed out Stroman’s line for the night at 6 2/3, 6H, 4ER, 2BB, 4K, which looks a lot worse than he actually pitched.
Duuuude. That’s your pitching hand … pic.twitter.com/MzmdG03iJo
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 26, 2016
Gavin Floyd came in to replace Cecil and promptly gave up a two-run double to Todd Frazier to give the White Sox their fifth run of the inning and a 6-5 lead. After ending the seventh, Floyd was able to get two outs in the eighth before being lifted for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte who closed out the seventh without further damage.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 26, 2016
Venditte came out to start the eighth inning before giving way to Jesse Chavez after a leadoff double to Rollins, who promptly stole third. Chavez was able to limit the damage but allowed the inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Frazier to give him three runs batted in on the evening.
Chicago’s bullpen proved why they are leading the American League this season. White Sox relievers, Putnam, Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, and David Robertson combined for 3 1/3 innings, surrendering two hits, one walk, and striking out three to close the door on this game.
Play of the Game:
Toronto’s second baseman Ryan Goins made two excellent plays up the middle to his right tonight. For both he ranged a long way up the middle and made strong one hope throws that were picked by Encarnacion.
The game ball tonight goes to left-fielder Michael Saunders who went two-for-four, with two runs batted in and a run scored, including a two run home run in the third inning.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 26, 2016
The Turning point came in the seventh inning when the White Sox put together five runs on five hits, including a double and a walk. The two out really gave them a 6-5 lead which they never surrendered.
News & Notes:
Despite scoring five runs early, the Blue Jays left ten runners on base in this game. Admittedly it a 5-1 lead would normally prove enough, but we have yet to see this version of the Blue Jays put a team away.
*Featured Image Credit (flkr): udo.d – 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.