Series Sum-Up: vs Cincinnati, May 29-31


Game 1: Monday, May 29
JAYS WIN!!!! 17-2
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman


Wow. Where have those bats been hiding? The 17 runs were almost double their season high of 9, from Atlanta. Their 23 hits were the third-most in team history, and also one shy of doubling their previous season high of 12, which they’d done five times. Two players (Devon Travis and Ezequiel Carrera) had four-hit nights, and three (Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak, and Troy Tulowitzki) had three hits apiece. Kevin Pillar was the only starter without a hit, and the entire team only struck out once (Russell Martin in the 5th) in 46 at-bats. They hit five doubles and three home runs, and capitalized on a balk, a wild pitch and fielder’s interference.


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The speedy Billy Hamilton led off with a bunt single for the Reds – he stole second and moved to third on a groundout, then scored on an Adam Duvall single. Toronto got just a walk in the 1st, Kevin Pillar made a spectacular running catch in the top of the 2nd, then Smoak led off the bottom half with a single and Martin hit an opposite field home run to put the Jays on top. They loaded the bases in the 3rd, then Smoak plated a run with a groundout before Martin walked to load them again. That removed starter Lisalverto Bonilla from the game and set the stage for Tulowitzki, who hit his second grand slam with Toronto (and the fourth of his career).



They scored another flurry of runs in the next two innings, including a three-run homer from Justin Smoak in the 4th, Travis scoring on a balk in the 5th, and Ezequiel Carrera getting caught in a rundown but being ruled safe on interference, then scoring one batter later when Josh Donaldson hit into a groundout. Kendrys Morales plated one with a single that same inning, then they loaded the bases with one out (and Tulowitzki came up again) but didn’t add to their 13-1 lead. Marcus Stroman was done after the 6th, when he allowed a solo home run to Duvall. He’d allowed two runs on five hits, no walks and had five strikeouts.


The two innings when the Reds scored their runs (the 1st and the 6th) were the only innings in which the Blue Jays didn’t score. In the 7th, they plated a pair with two doubles and three singles (Martin and Travis had the RBI), then another pair in the 8th with a two-out rally. Morales doubled, Smoak walked and Martin was hit with a pitch, loading the bases. Ryan Goins brought one in with a single, then Travis singled again to score the 17th and final run.


Game 2: Tuesday, May 30
JAYS WIN!! 6-4
Starting Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Winning Pitcher: Joe Smith
Save: Roberto Osuna


In his first start back from injury, J.A. Happ only went four innings, but the only runs he allowed were a pair of solo homers to Zack Cozart and Joey Votto on back-to-back pitches in the 1st. Happ didn’t allow a baserunner in the 2nd, then loaded the bases with two outs in the 3rd, but induced a ground ball to get out of it. It took him 81 pitches to get his twelve outs, with three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.


The starter for the Reds, former Jays prospect Asher Wojciechowski, faced the minimum through three innings (a Kendrys Morales single was erased on a double play) before hitting Kevin Pillar in the 4th to put the leadoff man aboard. Josh Donaldson then hit his first home run since returning from the Disabled List, a 435-feet moonshot which reached the upper deck in left field and tied the game. Jose Bautista followed him with a homer, his tenth of the season, and three batters later Russell Martin also left the yard. 4-2 Blue Jays.



Danny Barnes allowed a solo home run in the next inning, and a stolen base and a Russell Martin throwing error led to another run on two singles off Ryan Tepera in the 7th. That tied the game, but Ezequiel Carrera made a flying catch with two runners on to prevent things from getting worse. Then, Kendrys Morales, who’d narrowly missed a homer during that 4th-inning rally, finally got his in the 8th. He cashed in a Bautista leadoff single, putting Toronto ahead 6-4.



Devon Travis’ hit streak came to an end after thirteen games, as did Tepera’s 19-inning streak of no runs allowed. The Jays had seven hits, one fewer than their opponent. The Reds stole two bases, but Martin nabbed Billy Hamilton at third in the 7th. It was only the fourth time Hamilton had been caught all year, in 32 attempts.


Game 3: Wednesday, May 31
JAYS WIN!! 5-4
Starting Pitcher: Mike Bolsinger
Winning Pitcher: Jason Grilli
Save: Roberto Osuna


Josh Donaldson was given the day off, so Russell Martin started at third base for the fifth time this season. Mike Bolsinger, making his fifth start, allowed a pair of runs in the top of the 1st on a Joey Votto home run. Kendrys Morales drove in a run in the bottom half with a sac fly, but then Bolsinger walked a pair and allowed a double to put the Reds up 3-1. Martin singled in the 2nd, but after Chris Coghlan walked, he was picked off second base as the first out of the inning. Another walk later, a flyout and a strikeout prevented them from even advancing the runners.


Ryan Goins dropped a bunt single up the third-base line in the 5th, then Luke Maile tied the game with his second home run of the year. Aaron Loup stranded a pair of inherited runners in the 6th, Jason Grilli stranded a one-out single in the 7th, then the Jays pulled ahead when Goins took a walk and Devon Travis worked a 9-pitch AB which led to a homer.



Roberto Osuna allowed a first-pitch home run to Scott Schebler, but then struck out the side to strand a one-out single and a Goins fielding error. That earned his eleventh save of the year. Bolsinger had struck out seven in 5.1 innings, allowed four hits and four walks. Both teams had seven hits, and the Jays bullpen combined for eight Ks.


Overall Notes:

A ‘knucklehead’ fan (Buck Martinez‘s words) ran onto the field during play in the 8th inning Monday, and actually made it onto the broadcast for once – he cut behind Russell Martin, playing third, as he was catching a pop-up. The security personnel chasing him also made it on TV, and he was apparently tackled between first and second. PSA: Don’t run onto the field. It has consequences. However, the clip of Martin re-enacting his reaction to the interference was pretty entertaining.



Each team lined into an unassisted double play at first base this series – Jose Peraza lined out to Justin Smoak in the 5th on Monday and doubled off Scooter Gennett; Smoak then lined out to Joey Votto in the 2nd inning Tuesday, and Kendrys Morales was doubled off.


Weirdly Specific Record Alert:

  • Devon Travis has set a new team record for the most doubles in May, with his 16th of the month, which came in Game 1.
  • Monday was the first time in team history that the hitters 8th and 9th in the lineup (Travis and Carrera) both had four hits in the same game.
  • Russell Martin had his 5,000th career at-bat in Game 1 (he struck out). He is the 5th Canadian player to reach that milestone.


My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Loup/The bats

Aaron Loup made two appearances this series, for a total of 0.2 innings pitched (he gave up a hit to the only batter he faced in Game 2, luckily they didn’t score). However, he earned this recognition because he entered the game in Game 3 with a tied score, and two runners on, and didn’t even let them move. He struck out a pair on seven pitches (only one a ball) and kept the Jays poised to take the lead, which they did two innings later.


Pretty much every hitter was fantastic. Save for Kevin Pillar (who went 0-for the series), Luke Maile, Justin Smoak, and Troy Tulowitzki (who each hit a home run), the majority of the starters batted over .350 for three games:

  • Jose Bautista was 5-for-11 (.455) with a homer and a double, and scored four runs.
  • Devon Travis’ 13-game hit streak may have ended, but he went out with a bang. He was 4-for-6 in the final night with his AL-leading 18th double. He added a home run in Game 3 to go 5-for-13 (.384) for the whole series, with four runs driven in. He finished May with a .364/.373/.646 slash line, four home runs, and the same number of doubles (16) as singles.
  • Ezequiel Carrera was 6-for-12 (.500, all singles) with a walk. That included a four-hit Game 1. He also scored twice, and made an incredible diving catch.
  • Kendrys Morales went 5-for-11 (.455) with two doubles, a home run and two walks. He scored five times, and drove in four.
  • Josh Donaldson was 3-for-8 (.375) with a home run, and 3 RBI.
  • Ryan Goins started Wednesday and appeared in Monday’s game, was 2-for-2 in four PA with two walks, two runs and an RBI.
  • Russell Martin was 5-for-10 (.500) with two home runs, a double, two walks, 4 RBI, and 4 runs scored.


Where We Are Now:
5th in the AL East, 5.5 games back of New York, BUT only 1.5 games back of 4th-place Tampa Bay.


All good news! They swept the series! Happ has returned, Francisco Liriano is working his way back from injury, the bats are staying hot, and it’s nice to have Donaldson and Tulowitzki back! The upcoming series against the Yankees will be tough, but it’s a good opportunity to make up some ground in the division.


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