Blue Jays Walk Off Rangers on Consecutive Nights

Blue Jays battle tough after being down early to walk-off the Rangers for a second consecutive night

After splitting the first two games of this first game series both team sent out two right-hangers to start game three. Toronto’s young Aaron Sanchez took the ball for the home side, while the Rangers countered with veteran Colby Lewis.

Once again the Rangers’ jumped out to an early lead thanks to Rougned Odor who only doubled off the all in his first at-bat, instead of going yard like last night. Texas added two more hits in the inning – mostly soft contact – to help plate two runs, and put Toronto in the hole again early.

Toronto’s Michael Saunders, like Odor in the top half, started the bottom of the first with a leadoff double. He was eventually driven home on an RBI single by Jose Bautista to get the Blue Jays on the board.

Sanchez was touched up early for six hits and three runs through his first two innings; however, he settled in nicely after the rough start. The young right-hander was able to battle his way through five more innings while only allowing one more hit. Aided by some solid infield defense, his final line for the night was a solid 7IP, 7H, 3ER, 2BB, 5K on 101 pitches.

For his part, Lewis, was able to settle into this game as well. Using a steady mix of slow curveballs and sliders he kept the Blue Jays off the board after the first inning.  He worked his way into the sixth before issuing a two-out walk to Jose Bautista, which was followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion (4th) to tie the game at three.

With the starting pitchers out after seven innings, both teams went to their bullpens in the eighth. The Blue Jays got scoreless innings from both Drew Storen (8th) and Roberto Osuna (9th) who also got the win.

With their bullpen being thin on this night the Rangers turned to Tom Wilhelmsen (8th) and Tony Barnette (9th) who fell victim to some wildness and eventually gave up the winning hit to end the game.

Play of the Game:

Tonight’s play of the game came from the smooth fielding Troy Tulowitzki in the second inning. Diving in the hole to snag a hard hit ground ball off the bat of Prince Fielder, the shortstop was not only able to get the out at second but also kept the runner leaving from second base to score.

Game Ball:

After his much talked about struggles it’s a must that tonight’s game ball goes to Russell Martin. Not only did he help work Sanchez through seven innings after a tough beginning, he also went 2 for 4, and collected a huge RBI in the bottom of the ninth to walk off the Rangers.

Turning Point:

For the second time in two nights the turning point came in the Blue Jays last at-bat. After a single by Edwin Encarnacion, followed by walks to Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar, the struggling Russell Martin delivered a one hop single off the right field wall to cash in the winning run.

News & Notes:

Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that RHP Bo Schultz has been moved up to AA to join the Fisher Cats as he continues his rehab Stint from left hip surgery.

The hard throwing RHP made 31 appearances with the Blue Jays last season, pitching to a 3.56 ERA over 41 total innings.

Next Game:

The Blue Jays will wrap up the four game series against the Rangers on Thursday evening. The matchup will feature J.A. Happ taking the mound against Texas’ Derek Holland. You can catch the preview here

 

*Featured Image Credit: Larry Koester(Flikr)- 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.