Game 1: Tuesday, August 23rd
JAYS WIN! 7-2
Winning Pitcher: R.A. Dickey
The Jays kicked off their homestand with a bang, scoring their first run when leadoff hitter Darwin Barney doubled, and Russell Martin drove him in. The Angels got their two runs in the 3rd when rookie outfielder Nick Buss homered, but Toronto took the lead right back in the 4th with a pair of walks, a single, a bases-loaded walk and a double play that scored a run.
Dickey capably handled the LA lineup for the rest of his 6.2 innings, while Los Angeles starter Tyler Skaggs was forced from the game after allowing another run in the 4th and walking Josh Donaldson to lead off the 5th. Donaldson was caught trying to steal 2nd, but Skaggs’ replacement walked Edwin Encarnacion, then Russell Martin singled, Troy Tulowitzki doubled to drive in Encarnacion, and Melvin Upton Jr. hit a sacrifice fly.
The Jays got a couple more hits but nothing came of them, until Michael Saunders hit a solo homer in the 8th. It was his 21st of the year. Every Blue Jay in the game had either a run scored or an RBI – Upton and Josh Thole each had sac flies, Tulowitzki had his RBI double. Russell Martin was 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored.
Game 2: Tuesday, August 24th
Jays lose, 2-8
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Estrada got in a deficit early, as he gave up back-to-back home runs to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the 1st inning. In the 2nd the Angels touched him up for three more hits, two walks (one of them intentional) and a sac fly to score three more runs. His first scoreless inning was the 3rd, when he allowed a double to Jett Bandy, but Darwin Barney caught a line drive and doubled Bandy off at 2nd.
Estrada, who postgame wondered if he was tipping pitches, loaded the bases with one out in the 4th after a one-out walk and two singles. C.J. Cron grounded into a forceout, driving a run home. Estrada worked two strikeouts around a single in the 5th, and that was it for him. He’d lasted five innings with ten hits and six runs allowed. Scott Feldman pitched the 6th and started the 7th, but he allowed a run on two hits and was replaced by Aaron Loup. Loup allowed another run on back-to-back doubles in the 8th, bringing the score to 8-0 in favour of the Angels. Brett Cecil threw a scoreless 9th.
Toronto appeared to be rallying in the 4th, as Josh Donaldson singled and Edwin Encarnacion walked to start the inning, but two flyouts and a strikeout later, both were left on their respective bases. It wasn’t until the 8th that the Jays got on the board, as Russell Martin drove in Josh Donaldson to ensure they wouldn’t be shut out. Ezequiel Carrera plated Justin Smoak in the 9th with a single. They’d get a total of nine hits to Los Angeles’ seventeen.
Game 3: Wednesday, August 25th
Jays lose, 3-6
Losing Pitcher: J.A. Happ
Happ had a fantastic start to his outing. He held the Angels scoreless for five innings, and in fact did not allow a baserunner from the 2nd through the 5th. He had a two-run lead entering the 6th, after a bases-loaded Jose Bautista sac fly in the 2nd, and a Josh Donaldson solo homer in the 5th off Jered Weaver.
Unfortunately, the sixth inning spelled the end of the road for Happ. He loaded the bases on two hits and a walk with nobody out. One of the hits rebounded off Happ’s foot. Mike Trout singled, scoring two, and after a wild pitch Albert Pujols singled, scoring another. Happ was pulled from the game at that point – Joe Biagini inherited runners on first and third and no one out. He got a double play on the first hitter, and a flyout on the second, but another run scored in the process. Happ’s final line would be 5.0+ innings, four runs allowed, with six hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
Biagini started the 7th and allowed two singles, being replaced with one out. Brett Cecil walked the only batter he faced, loading the bases. Joaquin Benoit came in and Trout hit another 2-RBI single off him, but Melvin Upton Jr. managed to retrieve the ball in time to get Cole Kalhoun at third base and end the inning. Benoit got some more defensive help in the 8th when Troy Tulowitzki turned a double play on a line drive. The Jays scored again in the 9th on a pair of doubles from Upton and Bautista.
Mike Trout continues to be scary. That is all.
I was at the second game of this series, sitting four rows back from the first-base line – that’s how I got those photos! In spite of the loss, it was truly amazing to be that close. Perhaps I’ll do a post on that game sometime soon.
My favourite player(s) this series: Dickey
R.A. Dickey has met with criticism all season long, but had the best outing of any starting pitcher in this series. He allowed six hits but only two runs, and only walked two. He also faced Albert Pujols for the 11th-13th times in his career, and kept him hitless. In fact, when Pujols stepped to the plate for the first time on Tuesday, he made a little ‘tip of the cap’ gesture, which many took to indicate respect.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 23, 2016
Dickey offered a different explanation postgame, saying “We’re both just really old.”
Where we are now:
Tied with Boston for first place in the AL East
The bad news is, the Angels haven’t been a good team this year, and somehow they made short order of the Jays’ pitching. Plus the offense in the latter two games took an unexpected turn.
The good news is, the next team in town is the Twins, who the Jays last faced when their offense was scuffling, won 3 of 4, and then went on a tear. Good timing, Minnesota! And Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar are both back from the disabled list!
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