The Jays piled on five runs in the 1st, and then sat back and waited for the pitchers to do the rest of the work. Josh Donaldson started things off with a one-out double, advancing on a wild pitch. Justin Smoak walked, and Teoscar Hernandez brought Donaldson in with a single for the fist run of the game. With two out, Russell Martin reached on a fly ball that the outfielder dropped, and two runs came in as Martin went to second. Kendrys Morales then added two more runs with a homer.
Happ’s start went seven innings, and only twice did he face more than three batters. A walk in the 2nd was erased on a double play, then he stranded a single in the 3rd. Los Angeles got on the board in the 4th when the first three batters reached, Albert Pujols plating the first run on a single, and the other coming in on a groundout. The Jays got two aboard to start the bottom of that inning, but Martin was thrown out at home and nobody scored. Donaldson doubled to start the 5th, but Garret Richards then set down three in order to end his start and stand Donaldson.
Happ got another double play, erasing a walk in the 7th. The Angels bullpen also faced the minimum over three innings, including three strikeouts by Noe Ramirez in the 6th, and a double play turned after Smoak walked in the 8th. Ryan Tepera allowed a run in the 8th when a leadoff double came in to score on a sac fly by Ian Kinsler.
Game 2: Wednesday, May 23rd
Jays lose, 4-5
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (blown save)
Toronto had a lead for six innings, but a 9th-inning barrage from the Angels sealed this one. Things began quietly – Aaron Sanchez stranded a pair in the 2nd, and one in the 3rd. He then loaded the bases on a walk, single, and ground ball that Gio Urshela dropped, but escaped again. Sanchez was at 97 pitches thrown by the end of the 5th, which made it necessary for him to leave the game. Devon Travis gave the Blue Jays their first hit of the game off Tyler Skaggs, a home run in the 3rd. Yangervis Solarte followed up with another solo homer in the 4th, and after Sanchez walked but stranded two in the 5th, Solarte drove in another run with a single.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 24, 2018
The Angels got their first run of the game in the 6th, after John Axford allowed the first two hitters to single. Martin Maldonado singled on a pop-up that Curtis Granderson let drop in front of him, but Granderson expended considerably more energy on a fly ball from Kole Calhoun – he didn’t make the catch, but threw to third base for Josh Donaldson to tag Zack Cozart out easily. Mike Scioscia argued with the umpires, but the call wasn’t reviewed.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 24, 2018
Granderson later made another crucial play at third, fielding a Mike Trout single and throwing to Donaldson for the third out of the inning before Calhoun crossed the plate. After the play was upheld on a replay, the run didn’t count. In the 9th, Tyler Clippard was brought in to close it out and things began to fall apart. He walked Trout, who then stole second – the tag might have been in time, but Travis dropped the ball. Clippard then walked two more, and Ohtani singled with the bases loaded to tie the game. Andrelton Simmons scored two more on a single, and that was all with one out. Jake Petricka finally ended the inning.
Dwight Smith Jr. pinch-hit and hit a single, and Granderson doubled to put two in scoring position with nobody out. Kendrys Morales pinch-hit a ball off the wall, scoring Smith and making it 5-4. Granderson held up and didn’t score, then he was thrown out at the plate when Teoscar Hernandez flew out to Calhoun in shallow right field. Justin Smoak struck out swinging to end the game with two on base.
Game 3: Thursday, May 24th (Day game)
Jays lose, 1-8
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada once again had a fitful start, allowing two runs in the 2nd on a leadoff walk to Shohei Ohtani, an Andrelton Simmons ground-rule double, and a Martin Maldonado single that scored them both. He was lucky to escape the inning without further damage, because Maldonado reached third on a throwing error by Kendrys Morales, who was trying to turn a double play. Another run in the 3rd was partly due to a Justin Upton grounder that ball the ball boy interfered with – Upton scored on an Albert Pujols single, but Estrada made a fielder’s choice to tag Pujols out at the plate. He then stranded Ohtani, who doubled, and Simmons, who reached on the fielder’s choice.
Estrada set down the side in order on flyouts in the 4th, but after Mike Trout homered in the 5th, increasing the LA lead to 4-0, he was out of the game. He’d gone 4 ⅓ innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. He had just one strikeout. On the other side of things, Nick Tropeano went 7 ⅓ innings while allowing four hits. The Blue Jays got the leadoff man aboard in the 2nd (Kevin Pillar walked) and 3rd (Devon Travis singled) but couldn’t do anything with them. After Dwight Smith Jr. hit into a double play in the 3rd, another Blue Jay wouldn’t reach base until the 6th, when Smith homered – the first of his career, and the lone Jays run of the game.
How about a no-doubt laser for your first career @MLB homer??
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 25, 2018
Down 4-1 at the time, it looked to be the start of a rally for the Jays when the next batter, Josh Donaldson, singled. But then Yangervis Solarte hit into a double play, and that was the end of that. John Axford allowed a run in the 7th after Ian Kinsler led off with a double, stole third and scored on a groundout. Deck McGuire walked the first two batters in the 8th, one of whom was forced out at third, the other who scored on a Maldonado double. The Blue Jays then made another play at the plate to prevent an additional run. With two out in the 9th, Pujols homered, Ohtani doubled (originally called an out; he was safe on replay) and Simmons singled to score Ohtani.
What is it with the AL West? In five series so far against that division, the Blue Jays have a 5-11 record. Their only winning series came on the road against the Rangers back in early April. They’ve lost 10 of 13 games in their own park.
Devon Travis was called up on Tuesday, in exchange for Richard Urena being sent down. Deck McGuire was optioned to Triple-A on Friday. The corresponding move is Dalton Pompey for an extra bat in their interleague series.
My favourite player(s) this series: Happ
Once again, J.A. Happ looked like the only pitcher capable of holding down the fort, especially when the bats go cold like they did later in this series. He only really got into any trouble in the 4th, when he allowed the two runs. His final line was two earned runs on three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 11 games back of Boston
The Blue Jays will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to take on the Phillies, who were supposed to be in a rebuilding year, but are currently 28-19 and just half a game back of the lead in their own division. Sam Gaviglio will take the mound on Friday, against Zach Eflin. Both pitchers are only starting due to injuries in their respective rotations. Eflin has a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched over three starts.
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