Well that start is certainly a good way to make an impression on your new team! Liriano, making his first start as a Blue Jay, got the lead before even taking the field as Devon Travis hit a solo home run to left as the leadoff hitter in the 1st inning. The Royals tied the game after Alcides Escobar reached on a Darwin Barney error in the 1st, moved over on a single and scored on a double play.
In the 3rd, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion walked, and Michael Saunders drove in Donaldson with an opposite-field double. Troy Tulowitzki scored EE on a groundout. The Royals scored two more in the bottom of the 5th, one on a home run and one on a walk and a triple. The tie was finally broken with two outs in the 9th, when Devon Travis pulled a 78 mph Kelvin Herrera knuckle curve over the left field wall. The Jays loaded the bases afterwards, but didn’t score again.
Both teams had eight hits. A scary moment came in the 9th when Herrera hit Josh Donaldson in the head (well, the ear flap of his helmet) with a pitch. Donaldson appeared to be angry but fine, shaking off the trainers and taking first base. Another scary (for a different reason) moment happened in the bottom of the inning when Paulo Orlando, the potential tying run got all the way to second after a Darwin Barney throwing error. Barney redeemed himself when Orlando then tried to steal third, and Barney made a great tag on Russell Martin‘s attempt to throw him out.
Game 2: Saturday, August 6th (night game)
Jays lose, 2-4
Losing Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
For the second night in a row, Devon Travis started off the game with a home run. Despite Travis’ best efforts (he also drove in the other run, as his RBI single in the 5th scored Kevin Pillar) his Blue Jays couldn’t eke out a second win.
Aaron Sanchez lasted six innings but gave up nine hits and four earned runs. He held the Royals scoreless for four innings, but four consecutive singles in the 5th scored one run, then after two outs, an Eric Hosmer single scored two more. The Royals then had another two-out rally in the 6th, after a Paulo Orlando single and a Raul Mondesi triple put them ahead by two.
Danny Barnes came on in relief and pitched the 7th and 8th innings. He gave up two doubles (each to lead off an inning) but didn’t allow a run, and struck out two.
Game 3: Sunday, August 7th
Jays lose, 1-7
Losing pitcher: Marcus Stroman
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead with one out in the 2nd inning, after a walk and three singles. Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Thole combined for a double play that ended with a rundown and prevented more runs from scoring. In the 5th an Alcides Escobar leadoff homer scored an additional run, and Stroman left the game after that inning. Scott Feldman replaced him and had a scoreless 6th, but got into trouble when he allowed back-to-back-to-back singles to start the 7th. He got one strikeout before being pulled in favour of Brett Cecil. Cecil got another strikeout, but then gave up a grand slam which gave KC an ugly six-run lead.
The Blue Jays had at least one runner reach in all but one inning against Yordano Ventura, but couldn’t score any of them. They were out-hit 6 to 11, but walked four times. Their only run came in the 7th, when Darwin Barney walked, advanced to 3rd on a single, and scored on a wild pitch.
Kevin Pillar didn’t play in Sunday’s game after he jammed his thumb on a hard slide into a base on Saturday. That resulted in Darwin Barney playing in left field, as Jose Bautista was the DH. With Ezequiel Carrera still on the DL, that Melvin Upton trade is looking pretty timely right about now.
Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, was traded to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- The Blue Jays set a new team record of a streak with fifteen consecutive solo home runs. That means that every one of the previous fifteen home runs (including seven in Houston, and three this series) happened with no one on base.
My favourite player(s) this series: Travis
One of these days, I promise, someone other than Devon Travis will be my favourite. But he made it awfully hard to overlook him this time, with three home runs in two games, including the first two-homer game of his career. He had five hits, drove in four, and was the main bright spot on a weekend where not much seemed to happen, offensively.
I was particularly impressed with the fact that his three home runs were hit at Kaufman Stadium, which is known for not being a hitter-friendly park. It only makes you wonder what might have happened in the ALCS last year had Travis been healthy.
Where we are now:
Second in the AL East, 1.0 games back of Baltimore and in possession of the first wildcard spot.
The bad news is they lost the series, Sanchez has shown that he’s still human, Pillar might be hurt, and the bats seemed to fall asleep again.
The good news is they’re still close in playoff contention, we don’t have to see the Royals for the rest of the season, and their schedule ahead looks to be a little easier. Devon Travis is hitting like mad, and Liriano’s first start with the Jays seemed promising.
And hey, at least nobody got punched in the face.
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