Game 1: Friday, July 20th
JAYS WIN!!! 8-7 (10 innings, walkoff)
Starting Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio
Blown Save: Tyler Clippard
Winning Pitcher: John Axford
Sam Gaviglio established a new career high in strikeouts in one game, whiffing eight batters. It was also the longest start of his career, at 7 2/3 innings. Gaviglio didn’t allow a baserunner until Trey Mancini led off the 3rd with a liner back to the mound. Aledmys Diaz got things started for the home team with a solo home run in the 3rd inning. Each team suffered a hit batter early on: first Gaviglio hit Tim Beckham in the 3rd, then Dylan Bundy hit Yangervis Solarte in the 4th. Neither one scored.
💥 Starting the second half with a BANG! 💥 pic.twitter.com/fxbn0bXlGX
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 21, 2018
The Blue Jays got it going in the 5th, beginning with back-to-back homers from Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk. Devon Travis took a four-pitch walk, and Curtis Granderson hit a ground-rule double so Travis was not allowed to score. He scored instead on a Teoscar Hernandez sac fly, and Granderson followed when Justin Smoak doubled. The only runs Gaviglio allowed scored on homers, with the first one being a two-run shot to Renato Nunez in the 5th. He also only walked one, and gave up seven hits.
Bundy left after five innings, charged with five runs on five hits, and the Jays added a pair against Mychal Givens in the 7th. Diaz got a leadoff hit, and Travis tripled to drive him in, then scored on a Granderson single before Givens recorded an out. The Orioles made it 7-4 with another two-run bomb from Chris Davis in the 8th. Tyler Clippard was tasked with getting the save, a task he failed. Mancini led off the 9th with a double to right field – he then got to third on a poor throw from the rightfielder Granderson, and scored on a wild pitch. Caleb Joseph then homered with one out, making it a one-run game. Jonathan Schoop also homered, just down the left-field line, tying the game and causing the Blue Jays to bring in Ryan Tepera for the final out of the inning.
Despite Diaz hitting a leadoff double (it might have been a triple, but he seemed to think it had left the park and ran without hurry), and Miguel Castro issuing an intentional walk to Granderson, the Blue Jays did not score in the 9th. They waited until the 10th to do that, after a scoreless inning from John Axford. With two outs, Martin singled to the shortstop. Grichuk then walked, forcing Martin to second. Diaz singled to left, on a ball that evaded the gloves of two infielders, and Martin rounded third with plenty of time to score the winning run.
What's the best way to cap off a 4-hit, 2-run, 2-rbi game?
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 21, 2018
Game 2: Saturday, July 21st
JAYS WIN!!! 4-1
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Save: Ryan Tepera
Marcus Stroman tied his season high in game length with a 7-inning start in which he allowed a solitary run. The first batter of the game, Tim Beckham, singled, and advanced to third when Teoscar Hernandez threw out the next batter trying to stretch a double. Adam Jones brought Beckham in with another single, but Stroman got a double play to end the inning. Things were quiet for the Blue Jays on the basepaths against Alex Cobb, despite a pair of runners stranded in the 2nd.
In the 4th, Justin Smoak led off with a walk, then was safe at second base (the out call went to review and was overturned) when Beckham dropped the ball on a force attempt. Randal Grichuk doubled, scoring Smoak, and after another walk, Aledmys Diaz hit into a double play that scored a run. Finally, Grichuk scored on a Luke Maile single.
Hernandez doubled in the 5th and then tagged and moved up on a fly-ball out. This put him at third when a balk was called on Cobb, and that brought in the Blue Jays’ fourth run of the game. Stroman allowed five baserunners after the 1st – two hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Seunghwan Oh pitched the 8th, and Ryan Tepera the 9th – neither allowed a runner. Zach Britton was brought in for the bottom of the bottom of the 8th inning, with the Orioles down by three, and he walked the leadoff man before getting a double play.
Game 3: Sunday, July 22nd
JAYS WIN!!! 5-4
Starting Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Winning Pitcher: John Axford
Save: Tyler Clippard
With scouts from multiple teams looking on, J.A. Happ struck out nine batters in 5 innings, including five of his first six outs. He allowed one baserunner through his first 4 innings, a Mark Trumbo double in the 2nd. Andrew Cashner allowed four Blue Jay hits in that span of time, including the two that gave Toronto their first run. Kendrys Morales singled with two outs in the 4th, and scored from first on a Yangervis Solarte double that went over a leaping Jace Peterson’s head and off the left-field wall.
Three hits and a defensive misplay led to a Baltimore run in the 5th, tying the game. With a runner on first, the Jays tried to turn a double play, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s throw missed Justin Smoak at first base, so they only got the forceout at second. Two more singles scored the runner before Happ finished the inning, having thrown 36 pitches. Toronto hit into a double play to erase a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame, then Joe Biagini allowed a solo home run to Jonathan Schoop in the 6th that gave the Orioles the lead. Randal Grichuk doubled, moving to third on a flyout, and Kendrys Morales walked, which prompted Cashner to leave the game. Paul Fry threw one pitch to get an inning-ending groundout.
Jake Petricka struck out the side around a double in the 7th, and John Axford was brought in for the 8th. With one on and two out, Axford walked Trumbo (with a borderline call on the 2-2 pitch) and then Renato Nunez drove in a run with a double. Trey Mancini reached, and another run scored, when Gurriel tried to field a grounder for an inning-ending play, but Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz collided and the play wasn’t made. Gurriel’s luck immediately shifted when he led off the bottom of the 8th with a single. Curtis Granderson hit into a forceout (an attempted double play that he outran) and then scored on Grichuk’s home run, number 13 for the outfielder. Justin Smoak singled, Devon Travis pinch-ran, and Yangervis Solarte put the Jays ahead with a two-run homer. Tyler Clippard threw an uneventful 9th for the save.
Chris Rowley was designated for assignment after the series in Boston, but the corresponding move wasn’t announced until Friday. Richard Urena was called up, but was sent back down after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. passed concussion protocol and was allowed to be activated off the concussion DL in time for Sunday’s game.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Prior to Friday’s start, Sam Gaviglio had the lowest ERA in the first five home starts for a Blue Jays pitcher, a mark of 1.95, besting David Price’s 1.98.
My favourite player(s) this series: Stroman/Diaz/Grichuk
Marcus Stroman’s start of 7 innings and one run allowed put the Jays in a good position to win. He allowed only five hits, walked two and struck out seven. His defense turned a double play behind him and threw a season-high 107 pitches, 71 of which were strikes.
Aledmys Diaz went 6-for-11, including 4-for-5 on Friday, and a double and a home run. He was responsible for the seeing-eye single that walked off Friday night’s game, one of two RBI over the course of the series.
Randal Grichuk also had a productive weekend, hitting .333 (4-for-12) and all extra-base hits – two doubles and two homers. He plated four runs, including the difference in Sunday’s game thanks to a two-run homer in the 8th that put the Blue Jays ahead.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 22.5 games back of Boston
The Jays will stay at home for a three-game visit from the Twins, who have a 44-53 record and are 2nd in their own division.
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