Even though this game came to be a devastating loss, that doesn’t mean the first half didn’t contain a lot of happy moments. One of them happened in the 1st inning, when Devon Travis hit his fifth home run of the season and downright beamed upon returning to the dugout. Another was when Troy Tulowitzki took his first at-bat in his old stomping grounds, and the crowd gave him an enormous standing ovation. Tulo requested, and was granted time out, then stood back and tipped his helmet to the entirety of Coors Field. He looked a little overcome with emotion (and didn’t do so well, as he went 0-for-4)
Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs, the first in the 6th to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead, and the second in the 9th. Tulo made an amazing bare-handed scoop and quick throw to end the 6th inning – in the process saving an infield hit that would have ended Estrada’s record streak. That was where Estrada’s night ended, though it also included two plate appearances where he laughed the whole time and very unconvincingly pretended he was going to swing. He struck out seven and walked two.
Then… The bullpen happened. Drew Storen gave up four runs after allowing two hits and hitting two batters in a row. He only got one out, which was a sac bunt from a pitcher, pinch-hitting for the pitcher (that National League, eh?). Jesse Chavez didn’t help matters when he allowed a bases-loaded walk and three more hits in his 0.1 inning pitched, bringing the total to five hits and six runs scored in the top of the 7th. I should, however, offer an apology to Ryan Tepera, whose appearance I greeted with less than enthusiasm. He struck out the only batter he faced in the 7th, stranding two, and also set the side down in order in the 8th, including another strikeout.
This is the game that never ends… And it goes on and on, my friends… The Blue Jays started playing it, not knowing what it was, and they went on forever and forever just because this is the game that never ends…. National League games are confusing enough, what with all the switching and double-switching. Even more so at 2 a.m. It wasn’t just the late hour (first pitch was at 11:21 p.m. EST) that made it seem to last forever. The game was nearly four hours long!
The Rockies scored first with three singles in the first inning, and their leadoff hitters got aboard in each of the first four innings. The Jays tied it 1-1 in the 3rd, and Michael Saunders came about two feet from a grand slam, but then Carlos Gonzalez hit his second three-run homer in as many nights to make it 4-1 Rockies. His old teammate Troy Tulowitzki led off the 4th with a solo homer, which began a six-run Blue Jays rally. They sent every batter to the plate before the second out (on an inning-ending double play).
Colorado countered with a four-run bat-around 7th, which is the closest they came to tying it, at 12-9. The Jays tacked on a run in each of the 8th and 9th to give them their final lead. Happ lasted just five innings but still got the win, as he allowed five earned runs, nine hits, and walked one. He also contributed to his own offense, successfully laying down two sac bunts and even scoring a run after he reached on an error. Everyone was apparently rather tired, and that showed in the defense – the Rockies had four errors and the Blue Jays had one, in the 7th. That error is the reason Joe Biagini was only charged with one earned run out of the four he allowed.
Everyone in the starting lineup, save for Happ, had at least one hit, for a total of eighteen, and eight walks. My favourite hit of the night was a Josh Donaldson bases-clearing triple that bounced off the right field wall and rolled all the way back to the infield. By the time someone chased the ball down, it was closer to home plate than to the outfield wall.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 29th (day game)
JAYS WIN!! 5-3
Winning Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
I think Roberto Osuna was just trying to make things interesting for himself. The boy likes a challenge. That’s why he gave up two runs in his one inning of relief, and loaded the bases with a HBP to put the potential winning run on first. Not because he wanted to give the fans a heart attack, or anything…
Aaron Sanchez had made things easy with eight full innings pitched, allowing only one run and six hits. The only time he really struggled was in the 4th, when he allowed the lone run on three singles. He could have met with more damage in the 7th, when he allowed a hit and a walk, then another one-out walk to load the bases. But ‘Houdini’ was at it again, getting a double play to escape unscathed. He also managed to escape injury when he collided with Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson in the 2nd, trying to leg out his first major-league hit (better luck next time, Aaron!)
The Blue Jays’ first run came in the 2nd inning, as Edwin Encarnacion reached on catcher’s interference and scored on a Junior Lake double. The next two came in the 3rd via a Josh Donaldson home run, an EE double, and a Tulowitzki RBI single. Devon Travis singled and scored in the 7th. The fifth and final run came in the 9th after the following one-out-events: Edwin walk (Ryan Goins pinch-ran), Tulo walk, Pillar strikeout, Saunders HBP, wild pitch. They loaded the bases and then scored without getting a single hit. Hits were plentiful in the game, however, as they had eleven total, and five walks.
I don’t even know what to say other than this was a really fun series. Stressful, yes, but there were so many memorable moments and weird little quirks, because it’s
1) A National League game (pitchers hitting!)
2) A team we don’t see very often
3) Coors Field, which is weird to begin with
There were also a lot of bizarre goings-on in that middle-of-the-night game. Only at Coors!
Plus: They lost the game where they hit three homers, and won both of the games where they only homered once. Go figure.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- On Tuesday, a visiting team won a game between the Rockies and the Blue Jays for the first time in history. Previously the Blue Jays were 0-7 at Coors Field, and 9-0 at the Skydome.
- Marco Estrada’s MLB-record streak of consecutive starts of 6.0+ innings pitched with 5 or fewer hits allowed reached 12 games
My favourite player(s) this series: Encarnacion/Sanchez/Travis/Pillar
Edwin continued on his MLB-leading RBI tear, knocking in four more in this series for a total of 70 on the season. He had five hits, including two home runs and a double, walked thrice, and scored six runs (two in each game). He also was forced to play first base, because of the lack of DH in an NL park, but handled the task with relative ease.
Aaron Sanchez did an incredible job of shutting down the Rockies offense through eight innings on Wednesday. He assuaged the fears of many a Blue Jays fan who were worried about the bullpen, by making sure the relievers weren’t needed for more than one inning. He didn’t allow an extra-base hit, and his only two walks came much later in the game. When you’ve made John Gibbons this happy, you know you did a good job.
The Gibby/Sanchez bond is undeniable. pic.twitter.com/EDTnXCJp9d
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) June 29, 2016
Devon Travis enjoyed a lot of success batting second in this series. He went 6-for-13, had a home run and drove in three. He also scored a run in every game, including two in Game 1. He helped turn several double plays, and managed the remarkable task of appearing awake and energetic throughout the late-night game and the daytime game that followed.
We already knew Kevin Pillar would do anything to help win a game, even play through injury after wall-crashing injury. He took that to a whole new level in this series, when he fouled a ball off his knee in the 4th inning of Tuesday’s game, then continued to play. In literally the next half-inning, he chased down and caught a ball against the wall. Then in the 5th grounded into a forceout and ran out a would-be double play, in spite of the ugly purple bruise developing on his knee. He capped off the night with two more hits – a 2-RBI double, and a single – to end up 3-for-6 with two runs scored. Nobody would have begrudged him the day off, but he turned around and played another game 12 hours later, in which he had one hit and fouled another ball off his other leg. At this point I’m not sure if he’s superhuman or a little bit nuts. Maybe both.
Where we are now:
Tied with Boston for 2nd place in the AL East, 5.5 back of Baltimore
The bad news is, still no Jose Bautista. Plus the next stretch of games is all against the AL Central, which won’t be easy.
The good news is, Brett Cecil is healed and ready to rejoin the team! Hooray! And they’re off to play a homestand, which is always nice.
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