Game 1: Tuesday, April 24th
JAYS WIN!!!! 4-3 (10 innings, walkoff)
Starting Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Clippard
Facing Rick Porcello, Toronto leapt out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd thanks to a leadoff walk, a couple of forceouts, and two singles. None of the batted balls, but for a dribbler of a single into right field from Martin, left the infield. One run scored on a misplayed fielder’s choice to the third baseman Rafael Devers, and another pair scored on a Curtis Granderson infield single – also hit to Devers.
J.A. Happ allowed just two hits through the first 5 innings, neither of which were hard-hit balls, and one of which simply dropped between the fielders. Boston didn’t get on the board until the 6th, when Brock Holt led off and doubled on a line drive down into the left-field corner. Two outs later, Hanley Ramirez flared a single into center field for the RBI. Both Happ and Porcello lasted 7 innings, with a double and a walk in the 5th representing the only runners for the Jays after the mishap of the 2nd. Ultimately, both starters would get no-decisions.
Ryan Tepera pitched a clean 8th and Roberto Osuna was brought in to preserve a 3-1 lead for the save. It was not to be, as Ramirez led off with a single, then Devers also singled just over Devon Travis’ head. Eduardo Nunez drove in Ramirez with another single, which was the first run Osuna had allowed all season – in fact, the first since September 5th, 2017 (in another game against the Red Sox). A missed strike-three call led to a two-out walk for Christian Vazquez, and loaded the bases. Holt singled to drive in another run and tie the game, but Granderson fired the ball in with plenty of time to get Nunez at home and end the inning.
Rather than bringing in Craig Kimbrel with the game tied, Boston left Joe Kelly in for his second inning. Kevin Pillar doubled with two out but was left on base as Aledmys Diaz flew out, sending the game to extras. Tyler Clippard took the mound in the 10th for the Jays, and after a leadoff walk got a flyout and a double play to end things. Kimbrel made his appearance then, and with one out, Granderson hit a walkoff home run. That was also Kimbrel’s first run allowed all season.
You: The Grandy Man CAN and WILL.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 25, 2018
Game 2: Wednesday, April 25th
Jays lose, 3-4
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Losing Pitcher: Danny Barnes
The leadoff man, Mookie Betts, put the Red Sox on the board with a home run. Sanchez pitched around an outfield error to get out of that inning, and then set down eight in a row. Steve Pearce led off the bottom of the 1st with a double off Eduardo Rodriguez, and scored when Justin Smoak singled to the third baseman Rafael Devers. Devers threw the ball over the first baseman and into the seats, allowing the run to come home. The 2nd inning through to the 4th were quiet, with each team getting one baserunner over that time and stranding him.
Jackie Bradley Jr. walked leading off the 5th, then Sanchez hit a batter and Bradley scored on a Brock Holt double which Pearce fell down while trying to catch. The Jays requested a review of the play, believing that two runners had passed each other on the basepaths, but the call held and Boston took a 2-1 lead. Sanchez walked Andrew Benintendi, loading the bases with one out, but got a double play to escape the jam. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit an infield single in the 5th and then also stole the first base of his major-league career. He came in to score, tying the game, when Pearce singled. In his final inning of work, Sanchez hit the leadoff batter, but then struck out three in a row – the first two on six straight pitches.
Yangervis Solarte homered on Rodriguez’s first pitch of the 6th. But Toronto’s lead was short-lived when Danny Barnes came in for the 7th and surrendered a two-run homer to Betts (his second of the game). Barnes then walked two and was pulled, and Seung-Hwan Oh walked another to load the bases with one out again. Fortunately for the Jays, Benintendi tagged too early on a fly ball to right field, and was forced to go back, preventing another run from scoring.
Rodriguez left the game with two out in the 7th, and the Jays couldn’t get a runner against Boston’s bullpen. Their own relievers kept them in the game, as Tim Mayza, Ryan Tepera, and Tyler Clippard combined for 2.0 innings of work with just a walk and a single, and a pair of strikeouts between them. Both teams had six hits total.
Game 3: Thursday, April 26th
Jays lose, 4-5
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
After a hot start against Chris Sale, the Blue Jays’ pitching faltered, and the bats couldn’t recover. Kevin Pillar hit a bases-loaded sac fly in the 1st inning, scoring Steve Pearce for the first run of the game. They had a chance for more runs then, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ended the inning by flying out to deep right field. Devon Travis added to the Jays’ lead in the 2nd, by hitting his long-awaited first home run of the season.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 27, 2018
Boston got on the board in the 3rd, when Brock Holt hit a one-out double. Holt, who appeared to injure his leg stretching the double, was replaced with a pinch-runner, who then came in to score on Andrew Benintendi’s double. After a walk, Marco Estrada picked Benintendi off at second base to end the inning. Toronto got the run back when Justin Smoak hit his third home run of the year, but the Sox countered with a run on two hits and a sac fly in the 4th. Estrada then gave up a three-run homer to J.D. Martinez after a pair of two-out singles in the 5th, putting the score at 5-3 Boston. Aaron Loup then pitched two innings for Toronto without allowing a baserunner. Estrada’s final line was 5.0 innings pitched with five earned runs on eight hits and a walk.
Steve Pearce and Hernandez both took 10-pitch plate appearances in the bottom of the 5th; Pearce flew out and Hernandez walked. He was stranded, but that inning was key in getting Sale out of the game after the 6th. The first Boston reliever, Carson Smith, allowed a triple to Travis (who then scored on a groundout) and a double to Hernandez before being removed from the game. Matt Barnes got a strikeout to end the inning, and returned to pitch the 8th, when he walked Pillar and the pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson with one out. Randal Grichuk moved the runners with a groundout that was reviewed (Mitch Moreland’s foot appeared to come off the base) but the call stood. Craig Kimbrel picked up the save for Boston.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Curtis Granderson is the oldest Blue Jays player to hit a walkoff home run since 2009, and the fifth-oldest overall.
- The Jays were the only team left in the majors not to allow a 3-run homer (or grand slam) before Thursday
- Prior to Thursday, they were also 13-0 in games they scored four or more runs
- Marco Estrada got his 1,000th career strikeout in the 2nd inning of Thursday’s game
✨ A magical milestone for our magician! ✨
Congrats, Marco! pic.twitter.com/QZHl1asl5Y
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 26, 2018
My favourite player(s) this week: Happ/Sanchez/Granderson
J.A. Happ was phenomenal in his start on Tuesday, only allowing one run in 7 innings, striking out ten and not walking anyone. He didn’t end up with the win, due to the blown save, but he definitely would have deserved it. His ERA of 3.72 is currently a close second-best in the rotation.
Like Happ, Aaron Sanchez had a great start that was blown by the bullpen. With two runs allowed over 6 innings on just three hits and two walks (plus two hit batters), it was his best start of the season. He also struck out eight, including the last three batters he faced. At 3.69, his ERA is the best of the Jays’ starters.
Curtis Granderson only started one game this series, and pinch-hit in another, but he made the most of it, getting three hits (two for extra bases) and a walk in six plate appearances. He was instrumental in winning Game 1, thanks to his a two-RBI single and walkoff home run. Let’s not forget, it was Granderson’s throw to the plate that finally ended that 9th inning and prevented the Red Sox from taking the lead. He also had a pretty hilarious reaction to having Gatorade dumped on him by teammates postgame.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 25, 2018
Where we are now:
3rd place in the AL East, 5 games back of Boston
This weekend, the Rangers are in town for a three-game series. The Jays have already faced their old playoff nemeses on the road (winning that series 2 games to 1) and after this weekend will be finished with them for the season. Texas currently has a 9-17 record, worst in their division, and three of the most recognizable faces are missing from their lineup: Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre are all on the disabled list.
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