Game 1: Tuesday, July 10th
JAYS WIN!!! 6-2
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman might have been as dominant as he’s been all season, in this 7-inning start. On the other side of the field, Julio Teheran hadn’t had career success against AL East teams yet he lasted 6 2/3 innings, and only allowed one run on three hits. The Blue Jays stranded a single and a walk in the 1st, before stranding a Stroman single and Aledmys Diaz (who’d reached on error) in the 2nd. Justin Smoak broke open the scoring with a solo home run in the 3rd, giving him 13 on the season.
Stroman allowed a pair of singles in the 4th but got a 5-3 double play to get out of it. Each team stranded a pair in the 5th, before Ozzie Albies led off the 6th with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored easily on a Kurt Suzuki single, tying the game. Stroman allowed one more single in his final inning of work.
Teheran had left the game in the 7th, but it wasn’t until the second Atlanta reliever came in that the Toronto bats did some damage. Yangervis Solarte led off the 8th, and reached on a ground ball that handcuffed Dansby Swanson at shortstop. Solarte was replaced with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who then advanced on a failed pickoff attempt. Randal Grichuk hit a one-out single, and Russell Martin also singled, scoring Gurriel. Grichuk stole third, and Kevin Pillar hit another RBI single. Another pitcher was brought in at that point, but he gave up back-to-back doubles to Diaz and Travis that made it 6-1. An intentional walk of Kendrys Morales led to a bases-loaded double play that ended the inning.
Aaron Loup allowed a single and a double in his 1/3-inning of work, one of which scored when Seunghwan Oh got Suzuki to ground out. Atlanta’s catcher had the only RBI for their team, while five different Blue Jays drove in runs.
Game 2: Wednesday, July 11th
Jays lose, 5-9
Losing Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio
A series of defensive miscues led to an early exit for Gaviglio. In the 1st inning he hit the leadoff batter, and then Freddie Freeman reached on a force attempt, with a missed catch error by the shortstop. Gaviglio got two outs to strand them, and the Jays got a pair aboard in the top of the 2nd, but they were stranded as well. In the bottom half, Johan Camaro led off with a single, and Dansby Swanson hit a one-out single that moved Camargo to third. The pitcher hit a sacrifice bunt, which scored the run, but he also reached because Luke Maile made a throwing error.
A double scored another run, a sac fly scored one more, and the runners advanced on Teoscar Hernandez’ throw. Then Freeman singled in a run, another double scored another run and again the throw advanced him to third. After one more RBI single, John Gibbons had had enough and brought in Petricka, who walked Camargo before getting the third out. Atlanta later loaded the bases in the 5th but Tim Mayza got a three-pitch strikeout and a groundout (overturned on replay) to end the inning unscathed. Ozzie Albies then led off the 6th with a home run, putting the Braves ahead 7-0.
Mike Foltynewicz allowed only one hit (as well as two walks) to the Blue Jays through the first 6 innings, then Justin Smoak hit a solo home run in the 7th to finally put the Jays on the board. Three straight two-out singles followed, although Luke Maile reached on what amounted to an infield single to shortstop. Devon Travis had entered in the 6th, pinch-hitting in the pitchers’ spot, and he subsequently took over at second base. He hit his third career grand slam, sending the ball over the fence in center field and chasing Foltynewicz from the game.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 12, 2018
With a tie game two runs away, Atlanta changed pitchers and Kevin Pillar grounded out. They changed pitchers again for the 8th, allowing a single to Hernandez but nothing more. Aaron Loup then entered with the score 7-5, and proceeded to give up a double and a home run to the first two batters he faced, before getting two outs, walking one, and allowing a single before Joe Biagini replaced him. An Aledmys Diaz single was stranded in the 9th.
My favourite player(s) this series: Travis/Stroman/Smoak
Devon Travis hit an RBI double in Game 1, and followed that up with a grand slam in Game 2. He now has the highest batting average for an American League hitter in interleague play since 2015, the year he made his debut.
Marcus Stroman upped his lifetime batting average to .200 with a 2nd-inning single against Teheran on Tuesday. He also lowered his 2018 season ERA to a 5.90 (it’s the first time he’s been below the 6 mark all year). He threw 7 dominant innings, only surrendered one run and six hits. He walked two and struck out five, throwing 60 of his 93 pitches for strikes and leaving the game with a tie score. He got the win because the Blue Jays scored a barrage of runs the next half-inning.
Justin Smoak hit two home runs in this series – and both times, they were the first run scored for his team. They were the only hits he had, but he also walked once in each game, and has three home runs in the last five games played.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 21.5 games back of Boston
The Blue Jays are headed to Boston to face the division-leading Red Sox on Thursday for a four-game series. They’ll send J.A. Happ to the mound in Game 1, against David Price. Ryan Borucki will throw on Friday, and Marco Estrada will not start Saturday’s game as scheduled, because he’s still dealing with a glute strain (although they haven’t placed him on the DL). Sam Gaviglio could potentially make a short start that day, because he only threw 48 pitches in Wednesday’s game. The Jays will luckily miss Boston’s ace Chris Sale.
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