Series Sum-Up: at Detroit, July 14-16

Game 1: Friday, July 14
JAYS WIN!! 7-2
Winning Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez


After his last start, in which he lasted 1.2 innings and allowed eight runs, Aaron Sanchez looked like a completely new pitcher. He matched with Justin Verlander in keeping the game scoreless through four innings, despite four hits and a walk in that time. Steve Pearce scored the first run of the game with a leadoff home run in the 5th, and Jose Bautista drove in another with a sac fly after Kevin Pillar reached on a J.D. Martinez fielding error.



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In the bottom of that inning, the Tigers got two singles, then Josh Donaldson made an error in an attempt to turn a double play, allowing a run to score. That run, which was unearned, would be the only one Sanchez allowed; he got Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play and end the threat. A pair of one-out walks in the 6th chased Verlander from the game, then Pillar took a walk with the bases loaded to bring in another run. Jose Bautista led off the 7th with a homer to bring the Jays’ lead to 4-1.


In the 8th, Russell Martin took a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded, and Josh Donaldson followed with a two-run single.  Jeff Beliveau allowed a solo home run to Andrew Romine in the 9th inning, after Joe Biagini and Danny Barnes each pitched scoreless frames. The Blue Jays were out-hit 10-8, and stranded 11 runners compared to 9, but Toronto also had ten walks – Detroit only took two.


Game 2: Saturday, July 15
Jays lose, 1-11
Losing Pitcher: Francisco Liriano


Detroit starter Michael Fulmer pitched 8 innings and only faced two batters over the minimum. Kendrys Morales singled in the 2nd, but was erased on a double play. Jose Bautista walked to lead off the 4th, advanced on a wild pitch and a groundout, then scored on a Josh Donaldson groundout. That would be the only Jays run of the game. Their only other baserunner was a Troy Tulowitzki single in the 8th.


Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano suffered a neck injury and couldn’t even get an out in the 3rd. Nick Castellanos hit a solo home run in  the 1st inning, then a two-out rally plated another in the 2nd. Liriano walked the first three batters in the 3rd, and was replaced with Mike Bolsinger. J.D. Martinez drove in one with a single, then another scored on a sac fly. The Tigers offense quieted down until the 6th, when Justin Upton drove in a run with a groundout, and Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer. Bolsinger went 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. Lucas Harrell was next, and pitched an inning and a third without a run allowed. Lastly, Aaron Loup gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez in the 8th, bringing the Tigers’ lead to an even ten runs.



Game 3: Sunday, July 16
Jays lose, 5-6 (11 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Losing Pitcher: Jeff Beliveau


The Blue Jays put up three runs in the 1st inning on two home runs (a 2-run bomb by Justin Smoak and a solo shot from Kendrys Morales) before giving them right back in the bottom half. A Justin Upton double drove in the first, and sacrifice flies plated the other two. Jose Bautista grounded into a double play with two men on in the 2nd, and Miguel Montero threw out a base stealer in the 3rd. Back-to-back doubles to start the 4th inning gave Detroit the lead.


Ryan Tepera replaced Marco Estrada with two outs that inning, after Estrada had allowed four earned runs over 3.2 innings on five hits and four walks. Toronto came back in the 5th, with a two-run Bautista bomb to make it 5-4. The Blue Jays defense turned double plays in both the 6th and 7th innings; the latter was a lineout turned by Troy Tulowitzki to help Joe Biagini escape a two-on, one-out jam.


Danny Barnes entered the game to start the 8th, and immediately gave up a home run to J.D. Martinez. Neither team got a baserunner in the 9th, and then the Blue Jays stranded a pair in the 10th. Roberto Osuna worked around a one-out walk, and handed things over to Jeff Beliveau after the hitters went 3-up, 3-down in the 11th. Beliveau allowed a leadoff walk, then a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner. Lucas Harrell came in, and got a lineout for the second out of the inning. Then Josh Donaldson made an error, which put runners at the corners. Harrell walked Justin Upton to load the bases, then gave up the game-winning run on a 7-pitch walk to Miguel Cabrera. Beliveau was charged with the loss despite the run being unearned – the Tigers also had eight hits in the game, but didn’t need one to score the winning run.


Overall Notes:

The Jays returned from the All-Star Break with both Roberto Osuna and Justin Smoak having made their first career appearances in the Midsummer Classic. Smoak, batting sixth for the American League team, singled in his first at-bat against Pat Neshek in the 2nd. He also walked in the 4th and played first base for three innings. Osuna pitched the 7th, and got Paul Goldschmidt to fly out before allowing a single to Michael Conforto and getting Corey Seager to ground into a double play. (The AL won 2-1 in 10 innings after Robinson Cano hit an extra-inning home run).



Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

  • Roberto Osuna, at the age of 22 years and 154 days, became the youngest Blue Jay to appear in an All-Star game. The record previously belonged to Dave Stieb in 1980.


My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Sanchez/Bautista/Pillar

As previously mentioned, Aaron Sanchez underwent quite the turnaround from his last start to this one. He didn’t allow an earned run, and only walked two in 6 innings. He struck out four, and used 101 pitches, 62 of which were strikes. He allowed seven hits, only one of which went for extra bases.


Jose Bautista only had two hits in this series (he was 2-for-10) but they were both home runs. He also took two walks, scored four times, and drove in four. Pretty productive, despite of the low number of hits.


Kevin Pillar had the first three-walk game of his career on Thursday. One of those walks drove in a run. Given his propensity for swinging at things he shouldn’t, I think that’s an achievement worth celebrating.



Where We Are Now:
Tied for 4th in the AL East, 9 games back of Boston


The bad news is, they dropped a series to a team that has also been playing bad – and the bullpen blew a late lead.

The good news is, Sanchez showed signs of getting back to his old self. That, and they’ve basically picked up where they left off before the break. At least they haven’t gotten worse?


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