Game 1: Monday, September 17th
JAYS WIN!!! 5-0
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Borucki
Facing Evan Phillips in his first career start, the Blue Jays took an early lead in the 2nd on a two-run Danny Jansen home run. He drove in Rowdy Tellez, who’d singled, in turn driving in Kevin Pillar, who’d doubled. Jansen’s homer resulted in the end of Phillips’ day, and Sean Gilmartin took over for the 3rd. The first Orioles reached in the bottom of that inning, with a pair of leadoff singles. But Borucki escaped thanks in part to a double play – nearly a triple play, because Lourdes Gurriel Jr. dropped a lineout, fired to second and then to first. After a leadoff single in the 4th, Borucki retired seven consecutive batters before a walk.
Nine consecutive Blue Jays had been set down by the Baltimore relievers before Pillar homered in the 7th, making it 4-0. Borucki continued moving smoothly through the opposing lineup, helping himself out on defense in the 7th when he made a barehanded play on a Chris Davis comebacker to the mound that had knocked his glove off.
Get your @ryan_borucki action figure TODAY!
(Glove sold separately, batteries not included) pic.twitter.com/xAmTwbTZ4r
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 18, 2018
Borucki tied his personal best for longest career start, going 8.0 scoreless innings with three hits allowed. Aledmys Diaz homered in the 9th for the final run of the game. It was his eighteenth home run of the season, which set a new career high. Following that, Tim Mayza struck out the side in order in the 9th, throwing 13 pitches, all but two of which were strikes. The Blue Jays had just six hits, the Orioles had three.
Game 2: Tuesday, September 18th
JAYS WIN!!! 6-4
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Winning Pitcher: Jake Petricka
For a while, it looked like the Orioles were getting their revenge for being shut out last night. They opened the scoring in the 1st with a Cedric Mullins leadoff homer. Reese McGuire nabbed Adam Jones stealing to end that inning. The Orioles then piled on three additional runs in the 4th beginning with a Trey Mancini triple, a hit batter, a sacrifice fly (the play at the plate was ruled an out, but was overturned on a replay), and a single that became an inside-the-park home run when the Jays made two throwing errors on the same play.
With a man on first, DJ Stewart came to the plate and singled to right field. Billy McKinney retrieved the ball and threw to second, but the ball clanked off the second baseman’s glove and Chris Davis rounded third and scored. When the ball came into home, Stewart made the turn and arrived at third safely. But then the umpires waved him home because Aaron Sanchez threw the ball away. Sanchez was out of the game after that inning, having allowed four runs on four hits – but only two runs were earned. Jake Petricka took over for the 5th with one run in the books for the Jays, thanks to back-to-back doubles off the bats of Aledmys Diaz and Dwight Smith Jr. They added another in the 6th, when McKinney led off with a single, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout.
The tides turned in the 7th and the Blue Jays took the lead with the benefit of an error. The first two batters singled, and then a strikeout and a forceout followed. Reese McGuire walked, loading the bases, and the Orioles made a pitching change. Teoscar Hernandez pinch-hit and hit a grounder to third, which would have easily gotten Baltimore out of the inning, but Steve Wilkerson threw it in the dirt at first base and a pair of runs scored, tying the game 4-4. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then delivered a two-run single that put the Jays on top.
Game 3: Wednesday, September 19th
Jays lose, 1-2
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Marco Estrada only allowed one run on four hits in 6 innings, but he took the loss because the Blue Jays’ offense didn’t back him up. DJ Stewart hit his first career home run in the 3rd inning, which was also the first hit Estrada allowed. He’d already had a runner reach in the 2nd inning on a fielding error, but stranded him with two quick flyouts. After the Stewart home run, Estrada stranded a single.
The Blue Jays didn’t get a batter on base until the 4th. Jimmy Yacabonis had set down everyone his first time through the order. Then he allowed two singles to start the 4th inning, one to Billy McKinney, and one on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. bunt. Thanks to a wild pitch, McKinney got to second and then third on the bunt. Justin Smoak walked, loading the bases with nobody out, but Kendrys Morales hit into a double play. Then Kevin Pillar was hit with a pitch, reloading the bases, but Aledmys Diaz flew out on the first pitch of his at-bat, letting Yacabonis off the hook.
The Orioles bullpen took over in the 5th, and the Blue Jays’ relieved Estrada in the 7th. Danny Barnes gave up one run, the difference-maker in the game, on two hits in that inning. Stewart hit his first double, and Cedric Mullins cashed him in with a single. Billy McKinney prevented the Jays from being shut out with a home run off Miguel Castro in the 8th. It was his fifth of the year. Mychal Givens picked up the save for Baltimore as he retired the side in order in the 9th, all on pop flies. Toronto had four hits to Baltimore’s six. They left five men on base, and Smoak was the only one to take a walk (he had two).
Anthony Alford was recalled at the beginning of this series. That now means Toronto has a 38-man active roster. The only players not on the active roster are Brandon Drury (who’s on the DL) and Dalton Pompey. Alford appeared in seven games with the big club back in May, as well as four last year.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Billy McKinney’s home run on Wednesday was the 35th the Jays have hit this season against the Orioles. That’s the most home runs they’ve ever hit in one season against a single opponent.
My favourite player(s) this series: Borucki
Ryan Borucki’s best start of his career was the 8-inning scoreless one on Monday. He allowed just three hits, all singles, walked one, and struck out seven. He retired the last eight batters he faced, and his ERA has dipped back below 4 for the first time in a month (it’s currently sitting at 3.86, and 1.77 for September).
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 34 games behind Boston
The next series kicks off the final homestand for Toronto. They’ll play four games against the Rays beginning on Thursday. Tampa is 85-66 and continuing to use an ‘opener’. Ryne Stanek will begin Thursday’s game against Sam Gaviglio, and Diego Castillo will start against Sean Reid-Foley. A proper starting pitcher, Tyler Glasnow, will start against Thomas Pannone on Saturday.
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