Game 1: Monday, June 5
Jays lose, 3-5
Losing Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Happ allowed just four hits in 5.1 innings, but all the damage was done on a pair of Ryon Healy home runs. The Jays were the first to score, when Kevin Pillar led off the 1st with a walk, and Josh Donaldson scored him with a double. But in the next inning, Happ walked Khris Davis, and Yonder Alonso singled on a ground ball which Darwin Barney missed, which resulted in everyone being safe. Healy, the next batter, hit a three-run homer to centre field.
Davis walked again in the 4th, and Healy homered to almost the same spot as before, giving the A’s a 5-1 lead. Pillar doubled to cash in an Ezequiel Carrera walk in the 5th, after three straight innings in which they got a man on with one out or nobody out, and couldn’t score him. Pillar advanced to third on a Donaldson groundout, but then was tagged out at the plate when Jose Bautista hit a fielder’s choice to the third baseman and Pillar was prevented from sliding by a bat lying in the way.
Happ was finished after a one-out double to Alonso in the 6th. He’d allowed five runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out four. Danny Barnes got the remaining two outs that inning. Justin Smoak hit a solo home run in the 8th inning, which was Toronto’s third and final run of the game. Barnes was replaced with Jeff Beliveau in the bottom half, who stranded a leadoff double. The Blue Jays had seven hits, compared to five for the Athletics. They also took more walks – four to three. But their undoing was those home runs, plus the 8 runners they’d stranded (one every inning except for the 7th). The Athletics only stranded three.
Game 2: Tuesday, June 6
Jays lose, 1-4
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada has had struggled in the 1st inning lately, but this time around he escaped a two-on, one out situation with just one run allowed. A Khris Davis double, a Jed Lowrie single, and a Khris Davis sac fly led to the lone run. The Blue Jays tied things in the 4th when Jose Bautista reached on a throwing error. Kendrys Morales singled, and after Justin Smoak was safe on review after a forceout, and Troy Tulowitzki singled to score Bautista. Ryan Goins ended that rally when he hit into a double play (the second one of the night for the Jays).
Estrada settled in, and set down twelve in a row before walking Stephen Vogt in the 5th. Vogt was thrown out at the plate by Ezequiel Carrera and Tulowitzki, but Mark Canha (who had doubled) moved to third and then scored on an Adam Rosales infield single. Estrada ran into further trouble in the 6th, when a single and a double led to a run with one out, then another double put the Athletics up 4-1.
Estrada left the game, after 5.2 innings with seven hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. He was replaced by Aaron Loup, who got a strikeout. Dominic Leone and Ryan Tepera then pitched a hitless inning each. In each of the last three innings, the Blue Jays got the leadoff man aboard (two walks and a Tulowitzki single), but couldn’t bring him in. They struck out six times over those three innings, eight times overall. They had eight hits, and stranded a total of eight runners. The Athletics had seven hits, struck out ten times, and stranded three.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 7 (Day game)
JAYS WIN!! 7-5 (10 innings)
Starting Pitcher: Francisco Liriano
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Tepera
Save: Roberto Osuna
Oakland leapt out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Kris Davis drove in Rajai Davis. The Jays tied it the next inning with a Justin Smoak leadoff home run, then a walk and a single put two on for Kevin Pillar, who put the Jays ahead by three with a home run of his own.
The Athletics chipped away at that lead with one run in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to tie things up again. The 3rd-inning run was unearned, the result of a Troy Tulowitzki error, then in the 4th Trevor Plouffe hit a leadoff home run. The trying run came after Chris Coghlan completely lost a Rajai Davis fly ball to left, resulting in a triple, and Chad Pinder hit a sacrifice fly (also to Coghlan) which scored Davis. Francisco Liriano was charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk over 5.0 innings. He also struck out five.
The two teams were deadlocked at 4-4 and went to the 10th inning, which Kevin Pillar started off by getting hit with a pitch. Josh Donaldson then hit his seventh home run of the year to put the Jay ahead 6-4, then two outs later Justin Smoak followed suit, giving them a three-run lead.
The Toronto bullpen set down 14 batters in a row (Danny Barnes pitched two innings, Joe Smith and Ryan Tepera one each) with seven strikeouts before Roberto Osuna allowed a two-out Rajai Davis double in the 10th, and Davis scored on a Matt Joyce single. But Osuna struck out Jed Lowrie to end the game.
Devon Travis was sent to the Disabled List on Monday, but the reason came as a surprise. It was not because of the hand which had been hit with a pitch on Sunday, but because of a bone bruise in his right knee. That knee had been surgically repaired in the offseason, and he’d had to contend with a different bone bruise during spring. The news came as a blow to Travis, who had gotten off to a slow start in April but then taken off at the plate in May. He was obviously emotional as he met with reporters on Monday, and said that he’d felt fine until his knee seized up on the plane into Oakland. He’s since flown to New York to undergo further testing and meet with the doctor who performed his surgery last year.
Travis’ teammate and mentor Troy Tulowitzki had some supportive words for his second baseman:
J.P. Howell was also placed on the DL before this series, due to shoulder tightness. In place of him and Travis, relievers Dominic Leone and Jeff Beliveau were called up from Buffalo.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Their hitless streak with runners in scoring position (RISP), which began last series, extended to a franchise-record 34 plate appearances with no hits.
My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Smoak/The bullpen
Justin Smoak hit three home runs, including one which tied the game and another which padded the lead in extra innings. He was 5-for-12 in the series, and also walked once.
Roberto Osuna was the only reliever in the whole series to allow a run, in 10.1 innings by the bullpen. Collectively, they allowed three hits (two to Osuna) and one walk, and struck out eleven. Ryan Tepera threw two outings of an inning each, didn’t allow a hit in either of them, and lowered his ERA for the year to 2.94. Danny Barnes also made two hitless appearances, for a total of 3.2 innings pitched, with four strikeouts.
Where We Are Now:
5th place in the AL East, 6.5 games back of New York and 1.0 game back of 4th-place Tampa (following the off-day on Thursday).
The bad news is, Devon Travis is hurt. After his incredible month of May, this is obviously a disappointment, but especially so because this injury is to the knee that was surgically repaired last season. As a bone bruise, his recovery is unpredictable. The Jays also need a proper left fielder, badly. Even their Gold-Glove caliber infielders have been unusually prone to mistakes recently.
The good news is, they avoided being swept by the second-worst team in the AL, and the team they’re playing next is one that they’ve already swept this year in the Mariners. Mind you, the Mariners are less decimated by injury than they were during the last series. The Jays’ bullpen has been looking great. Aaron Sanchez has been making progress with his injury.
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