Mike Napoli scored the first two Rangers runs, and Jared Hoying drove him in both times. One was in the 2nd, after Napoli led off with a walk and reached third on a Devon Travis throwing error. Travis made up for it in the bottom half of that same inning, after the Jays loaded the bases against A.J. Griffin with two walks and a Russell Martin single. Travis came up with nobody out and hit his fourth home run of the year, a grand slam to left field.
Jose Bautista threw out Elvis Andrus at the plate in the 3rd, and then the Jays padded their lead with a solo shot from Justin Smoak. Napoli scored again in the 4th, after advancing on a Mike Bolsinger wild pitch. Bolsinger left the game with two outs in the 5th, after Napoli drove in the third Rangers run. Kendrys Morales hit his ninth home run of the year in the bottom half, making it 6-3 in favour of the Jays. They added another run when Jeremy Jeffress threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded and Travis scored. Aaron Loup set down all four batters he faced, then Danny Barnes pitched a clean 7th with a walk.
Morales was thrown out at the plate in the trying to score from second on a Troy Tulowitzki single. Ryan Tepera worked around a 1-out double and got two strikeouts in the 8th, but Joe Smith ran into some two-out trouble in the 9th when he gave up a single on a soft infield grounder, then a Jonathan Lucroy double, and a three-run Rougned Odor home run. Roberto Osuna game in to strike out Mike Napoli and preserve the win.
Game 2: Saturday, May 27
JAYS WIN!!! 3-1
Winning Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Save: Roberto Osuna
The lone Rangers run scored on the first pitch of the ballgame, when Shin-Soo Choo homered off Marco Estrada. From then on, Estrada was great, lasting six innings with no more runs allowed, only one walk – also in the 1st – and three additional hits. He stranded men on second and third in the 4th, and struck out eight. Yu Darvish also went six innings, but started off well (with three no-hit innings, in fact) before the Jays got to him. He hit two batters (Kevin Pillar & Russell Martin; the latter was argued by Jeff Bannister) his first time through the order, but stranded each one on second base. Then the Jays got a single and a double in the 4th, but stranded those too. Darvish then walked Luke Maile in the 5th, Devon Travis singled, and Jose Bautista did the most Jose Bautista thing imaginable – he hit a three-run home run against the Rangers. They loaded the bases after that but didn’t score again.
That 3-1 Jays lead would hold for the duration of the game, but that didn’t mean the final 4 innings were without drama. In the top of the 6th, Nomar Mazara hit a pop-up which Ryan Goins dropped, then Mazara turned his back on Goins when returning to first base, Goins retrieved the ball and fired it to Justin Smoak, and Mazara was tagged out. Rougned Odor hit a slow grounder to Goins but faceplanted on his way to first base and was the third out. In the bottom of that inning, Elvis Andrus made a fielding error on a Luke Maile grounder. This wouldn’t be of much note, except Andrus seems to make a habit of that in Toronto, and also Maile has now reached on error more times (4) this season than he’s gotten a hit (3) or walked (3).
The Jays infield turned an impressive double play behind Ryan Tepera to escape a one out, one on situation in the 7th. In the 8th, Joe Smith had two outs when Andrus foul-tipped a ball with two strikes. Joe West, behind home plate, had originally called it strike three, ending the inning, but Andrus pointed out he’d come into contact with the ball and West believed him. With that second chance, Andrus hit a double, but Smith got Mazara to ground out and escape the inning anyways. The Blue Jays stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th, then Roberto Osuna capped off a 10-pitch inning with a strikeout of Ryan Rua for the save. The Jays had seven hits, five of them off Darvish, and three of those for extra bases. The Rangers had six hits total.
Game 3: Sunday, May 28
Jays lose, 1-3
Losing Pitcher: Joe Biagini
This game was the first Quality Start of Joe Biagini’s career, as he lasted six innings and allowed two earned runs. It was also the first time the roof of the SkyDome had been open all season. The Jays scored first, cashing in a leadoff Kevin Pillar double with a Jose Bautista sacrifice fly in the 1st inning. They had seven hits (including two in the 9th) and two walks (back-to-back to start the 4th), but didn’t score again.
Biagini allowed seven hits, including two singles in the 3rd which scored Elvis Andrus, another a solo home run in the 4th to Joey Gallo. Biagini only walked one, and struck out seven. Dominic Leone allowed two hits in the 7th, then threw a wild pitch which plated a run. Jason Grilli and J.P. Howell closed out the game, each throwing a scoreless inning (Grilli had two strikeouts). The Rangers stole two bases, but Russell Martin also nailed pinch-runner Delino DeShields trying to take second base in the 9th after Martin lost a ball in the dirt.
Russell Martin played third base yet again on Saturday, with Donaldson and Tulowitzki both getting the day off to ease themselves back into regular play (Luke Maile caught). The Jays are now 4-0 in games when Martin starts at third, and he has a 1.000 fielding percentage in 32 innings at the position.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Devon Travis is the first second baseman in Blue Jays history to hit two grand slams.
- Travis also has set a new record for extra-base hits by a second baseman in a month (18).
- He’s also tied the franchise record for the most doubles in the month of May, with 15.
My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Travis
Devon Travis’ hot month of May continued, as he went 5-for-12, including a 3-hit Game 1, a double and a grand slam.
Where We Are Now:
Last place in the AL East, 7.5 games back of New York
The bad news is, without a sweep they lost a bit of ground on the rest of the division (Tampa and New York both won on Sunday).
The good news is, Tulo and Donaldson are back in full health, and they’ll soon get injured pitcher J.A. Happ back as well!
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