Game 1: Friday, August 24th
JAYS WIN!!! 4-2
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Borucki
Save: Ken Giles
Ryan Borucki got off to a rocky start when the first two batters of the game singled, and a sacrifice fly scored one. But he pitched 6 ⅓ innings and allowed two runs – to the first and last hitters he faced. In the 2nd, Scott Kingery singled, and stole second. Kevin Pillar threw him out at the plate, trying to score on a Roman Quinn single. That was the first of nine consecutive outs for Borucki. Kendrys Morales tied the game with a leadoff home run in the 2nd, and then the Jays took the lead in the 3rd after Jake Arrieta issued a leadoff walk to Aledmys Diaz, and Billy McKinney hit a two-run homer.
Diaz led off again in the 5th, and this time doubled. After McKinney walked, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in Diaz with a single. The other two were stranded in scoring position as Arrieta retired three in a row. He lasted until the 7th, when he left the game with two on and nobody out after Diaz reached on an error (the ball hit Kingery and popped up) and McKinney was hit with a pitch. At that point, the Blue Jays’ lead had been narrowed to two runs, thanks to a solo homer by Kingery in the top of the inning. Hector Neris came in and got three strikeouts.
Borucki’s final line was 6 ⅓ innings, two runs on seven hits and one walk to go with five strikeouts. Arrieta had thrown 6-plus innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, three walks and five strikeouts (plus a hit batter and a balk, hilariously dropping the ball while trying to come set in the 4th). Ryan Tepera – who’d replaced Borucki midway through the 7th – and Tyler Clippard each allowed a hit but no runs. Ken Giles pitched the 9th, gave up a leadoff single, battled a pinch-hitting Nick Williams for eight pitches before getting him to hit into a forceout, and then walked the number 9 hitter Quinn. Giles finally whiffed Cesar Hernandez, then benefitted from a borderline call that struck out Rhys Hoskins to end the game.
Game 2: Saturday, August 25th
JAYS WIN!!! 8-6
Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Winning Pitcher: Joe Biagini
Save: Ken Giles
It wasn’t looking good through the first couple innings for the Jays, and they were out-hit 13-9, but they pulld off a late comeback. Aaron Sanchez made his first start after a stint on the disabled list due to a suitcase-related finger injury. He went 4+ innings, issued leadoff walk in the 1st that was caught stealing, then stranded a pair in the 2nd. The Phillies got on the board in the 3rd with two singles (one on the infield, Lourdes Gurriel Jr’s throw was wide), and a Rhys Hoskins sac fly. Although the Blue Jays stranded a pair in the bottom of that inning, the Phillies padded their lead with three straight singles to load the bases, followed by a one-out, two-run double from Roman Quinn.
They weren’t done there, as Hoskins collected his second and third RBI of the game, giving Philadelphia a 5-0 lead, before Sanchez got Nick Williams to fly out. The Blue Jays countered with a three-run inning, beginning with a Justin Smoak walk, which was then cashed in by Kendrys Morales’ team-leading 20th home run. Following an infield single for Kevin Pillar, Danny Jansen doubled, and Randal Grichuk plated Pillar with a single. A double play ended that inning.
Sanchez went out to start the 5th, but after facing two batters and allowing two hits, he left the game. Only one of those inherited runners would score – Carlos Santana was thrown out at the plate by Aledmys Diaz on a fielder’s choice. Jorge Alfaro drove in Asdrubal Cabrera with a ground ball that skippd off Gurriel’s glove. Jake Petricka finished that inning. Tim Mayza then pitched two perfect innings, including striking out the side in the 6th and throwing seven pitches in the 7th.
Beginning with the 4th-inning double play, Nick Pivetta got eight consecutive outs, but he exited midway through the 7th, having allowed a two-run homer to Billy McKinney. McKinney scored Jansen, who had led off the inning with his second double of the day. Joe Biagini got two strikeouts to strand a leadoff double, and Toronto was down a run entering the bottom of the 8th. Morales led off and singled, then a one-out walk to Gurriel and a Jansen hit by pitch loaded the bases. The runners were charged to Seranthony Dominguez, and Victor Arano entered with one out. He struck out Teoscar Hernandez, then Diaz cleared the bases with a double, giving Toronto the 8-6 lead.
Game 3: Sunday, August 26th
Jays lose, 3-8
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
Their win streak was snapped at five games, although Kendrys Morales maintained his home run streak. Estrada allowed seven hits, three of which were for extra bases. Back-to-back home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana in the 1st got him off to a rocky start. After walking the first two batters in the 2nd, a Wilson Ramos bloop ground-rule double cashed in one. Estrada gave up a double and a home run (to Maikel Franco) on the first two pitches of the 3rd, then walked a batter and was yanked. That gave way to Justin Shafer’s first appearance of the series, as he pitched three clean innings with just one walk allowed.
Morales struck out his first time at bat, but then he came up in the 3rd with Billy McKinney on second. McKinney had reached on his first career double, which was also the first Blue Jays hit of the game. Morales blasted a home run into center right field, setting a new team record for consecutive games with a home run. Vince Velasquez only allowed one more hit (Aledmys Diaz singled in the 5th) on his way to the win, although he did walk three batters.
The Phillies then sent in four relievers, each of whom pitched an inning. Luis Garcia allowed two singles, but Randal Grichuk was thrown out stealing third. McKinney doubled again in the 7th (he went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk), but Hector Neris struck out the side. The other three Phillies runs were charged to Tyler Clippard – he pitched ⅓ of an inning, walked one, gave up a single and a sac fly, and then a two-run homer to Ramos. Joe Biagini finished the inning, and the game, with no runs on two hits and one walk allowed. Grichuk drove in the only other run for the Blue Jays with a solo shot off Tommy Hunter in the 8th.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was activated from the disabled list on Friday. He started all three games of the series, but unfortunately his record-setting 11-game multi-hit streak came to an end after he only recorded one hit on Friday night. He did get two hits and two walks in the series. Richard Urena was optioned to Buffalo in the corresponding move.
Aaron Sanchez was recalled from the disabled list to make his start on Saturday, and the Jays designated Jaime Garcia for assignment.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- On Saturday, Kendrys Morales homered in his sixth consecutive game, tying Jose Cruz Jr. for the longest such streak by a Blue Jay. On Sunday, he homered in his seventh straight game, setting a new team record.
- His seven consecutive games with a home run is the longest streak in MLB history for a switch-hitter.
- Including the last series, and the first two games of this one, the Jays had a five-game win streak. It’s the most games they’ve won in a row this season, and longer than any win streak in 2017.
My favourite player(s) this series: Morales/Borucki/Diaz
Kendrys Morales was named the AL Player of the Week this week, for his 7-game home run streak. In these three games he was 4-for-11 with three homers, a walk, and five runs driven in.
Ryan Borucki out-dueled a veteran and Cy Young winner in Game 1, one of his best starts so far. He pitched into the 7th inning, allowed two runs on seven hits and just one walk. His ERA has dipped slightly, down to a 4.12 from 4.27. He maintained control, despite having a few innings with multiple runners on base.
Aledmys Diaz was responsible for the winning runs on Saturday – down by a run, with two outs and behind in the count, he lined a double into center field to clear the bases. While that at-bat was pivotal, he was good throughout the series, going 4-for-10 with two doubles, a walk, and three RBI. He now has a five-game hit streak.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 29 games back of Boston
The Jays are headed to Baltimore next, playing a three-game set against the last-place Orioles. Thomas Pannone will make the start on Monday, followed by Sam Gaviglio and Ryan Borucki. Marco Estrada will miss his scheduled start due to a potential injury.
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