Blue Jays get a solid outing from Dickey, but fall to late inning heroics from Rangers’ rookie sensation, Mazara.
Tonight’s matchup featured beleaguered knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with his April ERA of 6.75, and the Texas Rangers newly acquired A.J. Giffin, who is starting his first season in April since 2013 thanks to UCL replacement surgery.
The two pitchers traded zeroes through the first couple innings, until Texas’ rookie catcher Brett Nicholas took a pitch over the centerfield fence for a home run – the second of his career – to put the Rangers up 1-0 in the third. The Blue Jays answered back immediately in the bottom half of the inning when Kevin Pillar drove a double into left field. After he was moved over to third on a swinging bunt from Josh Thole, Pillar scored on an RBI single to right field – past a drawn in infield – from Michael Saunders, to tie the score at one.
Both pitchers once again settled in to hold the offenses off the score sheet over the next three innings. Despite a couple of base hits, neither side were able to put together a sustained attack.
Dickey came out for the seventh inning, but once again ran into trouble. It started with an innocent jam shot off the bat of Mitch Moreland that found its way down the third baseline. With the Blue Jays infield shifted it was picked up by Donaldson with no play. After a walk to Nicholas and a fly out by Elvis Andrus, a single to right field by Texas outfielder Delino DeShields loaded the bases, and ended Dickey’s evening.
In true Blue Jays Rangers fashion of late, the inning ended when Gavin Floyd – who replaced Dickey – induced a fly ball off the bat of Rougned Odor on which all three runners tried to advance. Pillar fired his throw directly to the bag at second and nailed the runner for the third out before the runner crossed the plate. This play – which was overturned on replay – kept the game tied at one, and closed the book on a solid Dickey outing at 6.1 IP, 6H, ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
Ranger’s Nomar Mazara – American League’s rookie of the month for April – lead off the eighth inning with a home run to dead centerfield to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Floyd proceeded to strikeout both Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder to get to two outs before hitting Ian Desmond, when he was removed for lefty Brett Cecil to finish the inning.
To add to the dramatics Texas reliever, Sam Dyson, came into the game to start the bottom of the eighth. Of course it was to a chorus of taunts from the Blue Jays faithful in attendance. It seemed to rattle the ex-Toronto farm hand as he proceeded to walk Michael Saunders, give up a single to Donaldson, and walked Edwin Encarnacion. Unfortunately it was all for naught as Tulowitzki flew to right field, and Saunders was nailed at the plate on a strong throw from Mazara to end the inning.
From there Texas closer Shawn Tolleson came in and slammed the door on the Blue Jays ninth inning. Toronto was able to get a runner on base thanks to a single from Justin Smoak, but were unable to take it any further, in part to some solid defensive plays by the Rangers.
Play of the Game:
The Blue Jays infield turned in some stellar plays early in this game to help out Dickey. Ryan Goins and Tulowitzki turned a beautiful double play. This was followed by a leaping snag by Josh Donaldson in a later innings off the bat of Beltre.
One of the prettier 4-6-3’s you’ll see this year. pic.twitter.com/TS6GR3KTf9
— Roman ρ (@BadNewsJays) May 2, 2016
— Blue Jays Fans (@BJsFans) May 3, 2016
Today’s game ball goes to Blue Jays Kevin Pillar. The centre fielder has himself an excellent night at the plate collecting three hits, and scoring a run. He also made an excellent throw to second in the seventh inning, which helped to keep the game tied at one a piece.
Tonight’s turning point was brought to us – during the eighth inning – in two parts by Rangers left fielder Nomar Mazara. Not only did he give Texas the lead with a home run to centerfield, he also cut down the tying run at the plate with a strong throw.
News & Notes:
The Blue Jays collected themselves another ten strikeout game in this one. This combined with some questionable fundamentals on the base paths has given some reasons to worry about the team’s approach. While it is still early in the season, these are items to be cleaned up.
The Blue Jays continue their home stand with the second game of the series at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Check out our Series Preview to get an in-depth look of the entire series, here
*Featured Image Credit: Credit: Freaktography- 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.