Game 1: Thursday, September 6th
Jays lose, 4-9
Losing Pitcher: Sam Gaviglio
Two Blue Jays rookies made their first starts on Thursday – Rowdy Tellez played first, and Reese McGuire was behind the dish, catching Sam Gaviglio. Gaviglio allowed a home run to Francisco Lindor, the first Cleveland batter of the game. Gaviglio retired the next eight consecutive batters before Lindor homered again, in the 3rd. McGuire threw out his first baserunner in the 4th, and got his first MLB hit (a double) in the 9th.
The Blue Jays stranded a pair of hits over that time, before Lourdes Gurriel led off the 4th with a first-pitch single. Kendrys Morales walked, and Tellez hit an RBI double. It was his second at-bat, and second double of the game. Teoscar Hernandez drove in two with a double of his own, putting the Jays ahead 3-2. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz reached on a fielding error and Hernandez scored, making the game 4-2. Gaviglio then gave up two singles and an RBI double to Brandon Guyer in the 5th. John Gibbons chose not to let him face Lindor a third time, instead bringing in Jose Fernandez, who allowed a two-run single.
In the 6th, with Justin Shafer pitching, one on and nobody out, Yonder Alonso hit a routine ground ball to second, but Devon Travis bobbled the ball, then picked it up hastily and threw it over Tellez’s head. Alonso reached safely, resulting in two on and nobody out. Shafer walked Melky Cabrera to load the bases. Travis then turned an unassisted double play on a Yan Gomes line drive to get the first two outs of the inning. After Greg Allen plated one with a single, Guyer flew out to end the inning with the damage limited to one run.
Danny Barnes retired the side in the 7th, and the Blue Jays wasted a chance with two runners on and one out as Travis hit into a double play. They stranded another pair of runners in the 8th, then Mark Leiter Jr. allowed three runs in the 9th after hitting Guyer with a pitch, allowing a Lindor Single, and a three-run homer to Jason Kipnis. The Jays had 11 hits, Cleveland had 13
Game 2: Friday, September 7th
JAYS WIN!!! 3-2 (11 innings, walkoff)
Starting Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Winning Pitcher: Danny Barnes
Marco Estrada and Carlos Carrasco kept the game scoreless for the first 4 innings. Estrada stranded a pair of singles in the 2nd inning, and then a leadoff walk in the 3rd. Carrasco retired the first seven Blue Jays he faced, until Richard Ureña singled in the 3rd. Ureña was then caught stealing second before Like Maile struck out. Estrada allowed the first run of the ballgame in the 5th when he hit Greg Allen with a pitch, Allen stole second (upheld on replay) and scored on a Jose Ramirez single. The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom half of that inning, thanks to a Rowdy Tellez double, a fielding error, and an Aledmys Diaz sacrifice fly.
Cleveland briefly retook the lead in the 6th on a Yan Gomes home run, but the Jays retied it in the 7th thanks to back-to-back doubles from Randal Grichuk and Tellez. In the top of that inning, Tyler Clippard had been charged with stranding a pair of walks issued by Tim Mayza, and he did so by striking out Edwin Encarnacion. Estrada’s final line was 6.0 innings, two runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. The Jays got a single and a walk in the 8th, but nothing came of it. That was the end of Carrasco’s night, with two runs allowed (one earned) over 8 innings, six hits, one walk, and fourteen strikeouts.
Kevin Pillar came 90 feet from winning the game in the 9th, after he singled with one out, stole second with two out, and then got to third when the catcher made an error. But Ureña flew out and Pillar was left there. Jose Fernandez took the ball in extras, getting two outs and allowing a single before Jake Petricka came in to retire a pinch-hitter. Danny Jansen led off the 10th for the home team with a single, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was hit in the ankle with a pitch, putting two aboard with one out. But Brad Hand struck out the side, preventing any movement of the runners. Petricka allowed the first two batters of the 11th to reach base, then he fielded a bunt to get a forceout at third, struck out Lindor, and walked Jason Kipnis to load the bases. Finally, Danny Barnes got an inning-ending groundout. For that one out, Barnes took the win when Pillar launched a walkoff home run into left field. The Blue Jays only had one more hit than their opponent, with nine, but they had struck out 20 times in 10 1/3 innings.
Game 3: Saturday, September 8th
Jays lose, 8-9
Losing Pitcher: Sean Reid-Foley
Despite an early Blue Jays lead, Sean Reid-Foley had a disastrous 5th inning and the offense wasn’t quite able to make up the difference. The first two Jays batters reached in the 1st on consecutive Adam Plutko pitches. Billy McKinney singled, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reached on a bunt that the catcher Roberto Perez waited to roll foul (it didn’t). Kendrys Morales hit a ball to second, but the throw took Francisco Lindor off the base, and they got a forceout but no double play. No runs scored that inning.
In the top of the 2nd, Yonder Alonso hit a ball off the right-field wall, and Randal Grichuk threw him out at second base. Kevin Pillar doubled in the bottom of the frame, scoring on a Richard Ureña double. Aledmys Diaz singled, plating Ureña. Greg Allen drove in the first Cleveland run with a double, following a leadoff walk in the 3rd, but Reid-Foley retired the next three batters. Grichuk hit his 20th homer of the year, a solo shot, making it 3-1 Toronto. Perez led off the 5th with a home run. Allen walked, and Michael Brantley also homered, giving Cleveland a lead. After two more walks, Reid-Foley gave way to Justin Shafer, who threw 10 consecutive balls, loading the bases and then walking in a run. A Perez double cleared the bases. The seven-run, 11-batter inning came to an end when Allen lined out. Grichuk and Rowdy Tellez hit back-to-back homers in the bottom half, lessening the gap. For Tellez, it was his first career home run.
#BlueJays No. 29 prospect Rowdy Tellez racked up six doubles over his first three games, so in his fourth game he upped the ante and hit his first @MLB homer. Watch live: https://t.co/lIsgqWkzzk pic.twitter.com/gGHZmZuYW5
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 8, 2018
Mark Leiter Jr. came in for the top of the 6th and issued a one-out walk, before Ramirez hit a bloop single that landed in front of McKinney. Diaz gave up on a grounder, apparently assuming it would be foul, and his throw was wide and Edwin Encarnacion reached, loading the bases. On a comebacker to the mound, Leiter threw home for one out, but the throw was wide and Danny Jansen had to change positions to catch it, preventing him from throwing to first base for a double play. Ramirez scored on a curveball in the dirt in front of home plate, making it 9-5 for Cleveland.
With two outs in the 6th, McKinney singled and Gurriel lined a double to right, and then Morales cashed both of them with a deep single into the right-field corner. Morales got to third on a Grichuk single, prompting a pitching change. Tellez took his first major-league walk, loading the bases, but Pillar flew out to end the rally. The Jays got within a run in the 7th thanks to doubles from Jansen and Diaz, but two were stranded that inning, another in the 8th, and one more in the 9th. The Jays had 18 hits and lost. Grichuk had three, and Diaz had four.
Each team notched six hits, and all but one of the runs in this game were scored by the longball. Justin Smoak got things started early, launching his twenty-fourth of the season to right field in the 1st, and cashing in a one-out walk. Francisco Lindor got on the board with a solo shot in the 3rd, which was his third home run of the series. Smoak drove in another run with a single in the bottom of the 3rd after Reese McGuire led off with a four-pitch walk, stole his first base in the major leagues.
Following an injury delay for Randal Grichuk in the 4th (more on that below), Thomas Pannone walked two batters, but got out of the jam. Pannone threw 6 1/3 innings before being lifted following a Brandon Barnes homer that brought Cleveland within a run. Before Barnes, Pannone had retired the last 6 batters. His final line was two runs allowed on four hits, three walks, and two strikeouts. Ryan Tepera finished the inning with a pair of strikeouts. Mike Clevinger only threw 6 innings, and allowed three runs.
Jose Fernandez only faced on batter in the 8th – Michael Brantley, who singled. Jake Petricka then struck out the side to strand him. Billy McKinney led off the bottom of that inning with a double, then was out at third base when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reached on a fielder’s choice. Gurriel and Smoak were both safe when the first baseman Yandy Diaz made an impressive sliding stop, but then the throw went through the third baseman’s legs. Two on and one out set the stage for Teoscar Hernandez, who homered to center field and give the Jays a comfortable lead. David Paulino allowed a walk and a single with two outs in the 9th, requiring Ken Giles to come in for a one-batter save.
Randal Grichuk suffered a frightening accident in the 4th inning on Sunday – while multiple fielders were converging in foul territory to catch a pop-up, a security guard was in the way. The guard stood up and picked up his stool to get out of the way, but Grichuk slid into him, and the stool caught him in the face. He laid on the ground for several minutes with medical staff tending to him, then stood up and left the field with a towel held to his face. Teoscar Hernandez took over his spot in the lineup. Grichuk received concussion tests and turned out fine, avoiding serious injury. John Gibbons even managed to make light of the situation postgame.
Gibbons on Grichuk (face injury): “He was swollen around the eye socket.. but he was smiling and grinning in the clubhouse..He’s a pretty boy, you don’t want anything to happen to that face.”
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) September 9, 2018
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Reese McGuire was the 61st different player to appear in a game for the Blue Jays this season, which is a new team record.
- Rowdy Tellez is the first player in MLB history (in the live-ball era, since 1920) with extra-base hits in each of his first three plate appearances, and four extra-base hits in his first five plate appearances.
- Tellez is also the first Blue Jays player whose first four career hits were all doubles.
- Tellez is the first Blue Jay (and the first MLB player since 1913) to hit five doubles in his first three career games.
- With a home run added on Saturday, Tellez is now the first player in the live-ball era to hit seven extra-base hits in his first four career games.
- Tellez also has the most hits by a Blue Jays hitter through their first four career games, with 8.
My favourite player(s) this series: Tellez
In addition to all his record-setting accomplishments (see above), Rowdy Tellez had a pretty incredibly series. He went 7-for-17, with five doubles, a home run, a walk and three runs driven in. His reaction to being given the ‘silent treatment’ for his first home run was pretty great, too:
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 32.5 games back of Boston, following the off-day.
Monday will be a day off, after which the Jays will head to Boston for the first of a three-game series against the division-leading Red Sox. Chris Sale will make a two-inning maximum start on Tuesday, after returning from injury. He will oppose Ryan Borucki. David Price and Aaron Sanchez are the starters slated for Wednesday.
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