The Toronto Blue Jays held off the Cleveland Indians to win 6-5 on Saturday and tie the series after a shaky start from Aaron Sanchez
The Toronto Blue Jays played the second game of the series in Cleveland on a night when the Tragically Hip played on national TV. So, if you were otherwise engaged, we can hardly blame you. Good thing we were glued to our TV all night. Here’s everything you need to know:
Toronto Blue Jays- 6 Cleveland Indians- 5
Aaron Sanchez was rolling early on. His fastball was looking extra nasty. Through the first 2 innings, he had recorded 4 strike outs. He didn’t allow a base runner until the 3rd inning when Abraham Almonte reached on an error by Ryan Goins at SS. But, it was quickly erased by a prompt groundball double play that Goins took himself and ended the inning. Sanchez shouted to Goins that it was OK and that he’d get them out of it. Through the early innings, Sanchez was proving, yet again, that his innings have all been low stress and easy.
Until the 4th inning, that is. Carlos Santana walked to lead off the inning, which Sanchez did his best to erase with another ground ball by Jason Kipnis. But, Devon Travis tossed it wildly. Francisco followed with a single. With the bases loaded, Mike Napoli drove a sac fly to put the Indians on the board. After that, Jose Ramirez singled to drive in the second run of the inning. Sanchez didn’t respond well to the Indians 4th inning attack. He was out of his early groove at that point and Lonnie Chisenhall worked him for a 10 pitch at bat that ended with a 3-run bomb that tied the game at 5.
Sanchez struggling to end the inning led to Joseph Biagini warming up in the bullpen in just the 4th inning. The Indians sent 9 batters to the plate and by the time the inning was done, Sanchez was up to 77 pitches. It was really interesting to see manager, John Gibbons pull Sanchez after that long inning. We’ve come accustomed to seeing him give his starters the shot at the win, keeping them in the game longer than we’d like. But, he was not messing around on this night.
The Blue Jays’ scoring started in the second inning. After Darwin Barney BABIP-ed his way onboard with a two out, half swing of a bloop single, Ryan Goins laced a double off the bottom of the wall. With the lineup turned over, Devon Travis stepped up and hit a ground ball off the end of the bat and third baseman, Jose Ramirez, had only one option- to bare hand the ball. It didn’t work out for him as he whiffed on it. But, Goins hustled his way right past third and all the way home from second. That brought the score to 2-0.
Russell Martin continued his hot streak with his 14th home run of the season. It was a one out wall scraper to RCF to put his team up 3-0.
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) August 20, 2016
Russell Martin's last six games: 11-for-21 with 6 HR and 11 RBIs. That's video game good. #BlueJays
— Alykhan K. Ravjiani (@AlykhanKR) August 21, 2016
Troy Tulowitzki followed Martin’s stroke with a double to the gap, but was quickly erased as he strayed too far off second and was caught DOA on a Michael Saunders grounder. It proved costly as Melvin Upton Jr.drove the next pitch to RCF for a home run that scored Saunders and gave Sanchez a 5-0 lead.
With the game tied at 5 in the 5th inning, Edwin Encarnacion stepped up an alleviated the frustration with his 35th blast of the season. That, and a subsequent walk to Tulo chased Josh Tomlin from the game. Saunders grounded out to end any threat to increase the lead in the inning. By that point, the rain had been falling pretty heavy for a bit. But, that didn’t stop the hoards of Blue Jays fans from celebrating and enjoying themselves.
Barney started off the 6th inning with a single and Goins liked it so much, he copied with one of his own, which Barney alertly went first to third on. It looked as though the Good Guys had something going. And, Barney did his best to make it happen. On another Travis grounder, he sprinted home, but was out by a mile on a heads up play by the Indians’ infield.
It is worth mentioning the 7th inning when Martin singled and Saunders came to the plate. With a beauty of a swing, he went to opposite field against the shift, which allowed Martin to go to third. Of course, the nice piece of hitting didn’t amount to anything as Upton Jr grounded out in the next at bat to end the inning. But, it was a nice bit of hitting to go against the shift.
From there, it was a rather uneventful trip through Joaquin Benoit to Jason Grilli to Roberto Osuna to close the game. Benoit and Grilli are enjoying quite the turn around since coming to Toronto. If the bullpen shapes up this way down the stretch, things could look very exciting for the Blue Jays. After giving up the game the night before, Osuna came into this game and shut things down rather emphatically for his 28th save.
Play of the Game:
After his starter allowed the Indians to tie the game up at 5, Encarnacion would take matters into his own hands and break that tie with a no doubter to LCF to a row of Blue Jays fans wearing yellow rain bags. Thanks to MLB’s strict control of video content, you can check out his blast by following the link HERE.
After Sanchez started so well and coughed up the lead, the Blue Jays turned to Joe Biagini to hold the Indians in check. And, he did just that. In his 2 innings of work, he gave up just one hit. That’s it. No walks. Nothing else.
Joe Biagini, ladies and gents! pic.twitter.com/vAMMXWrygf
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) August 21, 2016
The Blue Jays will wrap up their series against the Indians on Sunday at 1pm ET. In what should be a great pitching matchup, Marcus Stroman will matchup against Corey Kluber. Get set for the game with our series preview.
*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.