Game 1: Monday, September 3rd
Jays lose, 7-1
Losing Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Plagued by blister issues and other assorted injuries all season, Marcus Stroman lasted only an inning and two-thirds, allowing six hits and four runs. Three singles plated a run in the 1st, then Kevin Kiermaier led off the 2nd with a triple, Nick Cuiffo reached on a fielder’s choice (Justin Smoak failed to make an out on the play), Kiermaier scored on a Mallex Smith single back to the pitcher’s mound, and Matt Duffy drove in two with a double. Stroman then hit Tommy Pham with a pitch, and was pulled from the game. Jose Fernandez came in, but didn’t technically face a batter, because Luke Maile caught Pham stealing for the third out.
With Ryne Stanek shutting down the side in the 1st, the Rays turned things over to Yonny Chirinos, who walked a pair and then Teoscar Hernandez singled, driving in a run. They then left a pair on base, before Fernandez allowed another run on two hits in the 3rd. Fernandez also recorded his first career strikeout. Danny Barnes allowed the first two batters to reach in the 5th, then Tim Mayza got a double play but threw a wild pitch, allowing one of them to score anyways. The Blue Jays wasted chances by hitting into double plays in the bottom of that inning, as well as the 6th.
Ji-Man Choi made it 7-1 by launching a solo home run off Taylor Guerrieri in the 7th. Kevin Pillar and Aledmys Diaz singled on back-to-back first pitches in the bottom of that inning, but Russell Martin hit into their third consecutive double play. Tyler Clippard struck out the side around a Kiermaier double in the 8th. By the end of the game, the Jays were out-hit 11-4.
Game 2: Tuesday, September 4th
Jays lose, 0-4
Losing Pitcher: Ryan Borucki
Ryan Borucki had a 6-inning start, and only allowed two runs to score on three hits, but that wasn’t good enough, as the Blue Jays hitters were shut out. Borucki loaded the bases with a hit and two walks in the 1st, but got a swinging strikeout of Willy Adames to end it. The Jays looked to be off to a good start in the bottom of the 1st, as Devon Travis led off with a double and Kendrys Morales was hit with a pitch, but then Morales was thrown out at second on the back end of a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play.
Tampa got a run on the board in the next frame thanks to back-to-back singled, a sac bunt, and an RBI groundout. After Ryne Stanek pitched the 1st inning for the second consecutive game, Hunter Wood retired six consecutive batters, followed by Jalen Beeks, who also retired six more before Aledmys Diaz led off the 6th with a single. Toronto failed to capitalize on a sacrifice bunt in that inning, even though Justin Smoak walked with two outs. Borucki left the game after hitting Kevin Kiermaier, the first batter of the 7th; the run came in to score on a Ji-Man Choi double off Jake Petricka. Tommy Pham tripled to drive in Choi, and Pham in turn scored on a single from Matt Duffy.
Kiermaier was hit again by Thomas Pannone in the 8th, but Pannone stranded runners at the corners. Despite the four-run lead, the Rays were forced to bring in closer Sergio Romo after Adam Kolerek walked Smoak and then Morales singled, both with one out in the 9th.
Game 3: Wednesday, September 5th
JAYS WIN!!! 10-3
Winning Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez
Although the first two games of the series were low-scoring, the Blue Jays wasted no time blowing things wide open with 7 runs in the 1st. Tyler Glasnow was starting, and only managed to get two outs. Billy McKinney led off with a walk, then Devon Travis, Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales all singled, bringing in the first two runs. After one out, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled on a ground ball that the third baseman deflected, bringing in another run. Then Aledmys Diaz hit a three-run homer. Danny Jansen walked, and Glasnow got two strikeouts – but the third strike of the latter was a wild pitch, and McKinney reached base safely again. With that, Andrew Kittredge came into the game to face Travis, who recorded his second single of the inning and plated the seventh run. 12 Blue Jays had gone to the plate, and six of them had hits before Kittredge struck out Smoak to end it.
— Yahoo Canada Sports (@YahooCASports) September 5, 2018
Aaron Sanchez had shut down the side capably in the 1st, but he allowed a solo homer to Kevin Kiermaier in the 2nd, before loading the bases with two outs and walking Mallex Smith, forcing in a run. He got out of the jam by striking out Matt Duffy on three pitches. Kittredge then loaded the bases by walking Morales, giving up a ground-rule double to Gurriel, and opting to intentionally walk Diaz. He then got two strikeouts to strand the bases full of Blue Jays. Vidal Nuno did the same in the 4th (with singles, and he hit Jansen) before getting Jonathan Davis for his third strikeout of the game. Randal Grichuk robbed Kiermaier of an extra-base hit in the 3rd, making a jumping catch at the wall that even Kiermaier acknowledged
But the Blue Jays weren’t done, as McKinney hit a leadoff homer in the 5th, and Travis doubled behind him. Travis was stranded, but Aledmys Diaz doubled in the 6th and was cashed in by Rowdy Tellez, who pinch-hit for his first ever career at-bat and lined a double into right field on the first pitch he saw. Kiermaier had homered in the top of the inning, making it 8-3; Tellez made it 9-3. Ryan Tepera took over for Sanchez in the 7th, after a six-hit, three-run start with two walks and eight strikeouts. Tepera stranded a pair of walks, then the Blue Jays made it to double-digits with a trio of singles. Randal Grichuk took that RBI before Gurriel lined into a double play to end the inning. Both sides went down quietly in the 8th, and Ken Giles got three groundouts in the 9th.
Let's get the firsts out of the way!
First pitch ✔️
First hit ✔️
First XBH ✔️
First pinch hit ✔️
First RBI ✔️
You're officially a big leaguer, Rowdy! pic.twitter.com/W8jHBhVlD6
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 6, 2018
With the minor-league season over, several prospects and optioned players were called up to join the team this week. Mark Leiter Jr., a waiver claim from the Phillies, was activated on Monday. Murphy Smith was outrighted to Triple-A the same day.
Outfielder Jonathan Davis was selected from the Bisons on Tuesday, and Mike Hauschild was designated for assignment to make room for Davis on the 40-man roster. Also recalled on Tuesday were Jake Petricka, Dwight Smith Jr., Rowdy Tellez, and Richard Ureña. Pitcher David Paulino was recalled on Wednesday. Tellez and Davis made their major-league debuts on Wednesday.
Marcus Stroman was activated from the disabled list for his Monday start, and Joe Biagini was placed on the DL with a left oblique strain on Tuesday.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Rowdy Tellez is the first Blue Jay player since their inaugural game with a pinch-hit, extra-base, RBI hit in his first at-bat in the major leagues (Al Woods had a homer on April 7, 1977)
- The seven runs scored in the 1st inning on Wednesday ties their season high for runs scored in an inning (they previously did it in the bottom of the 8th against the White Sox on April 4th)
My favourite player(s) this series: Borucki/Travis/Tellez
Of the three starting pitchers in this series, Ryan Borucki probably gave them the best chance to win – unfortunately, they did not take that game. He threw 6-plus innings, allowing just three hits (all singles) and two walks. He also struck out five, and threw two-thirds of his 96 pitches for strikes.
Devon Travis played two games of this series, and went 4-for-9, including three hits in Game 3, two of which were in the 1st inning. He doubled twice, scored once, and drove in a run.
Rowdy Tellez only had one plate appearance in the entire series, but it was the first of his career, and he made it a memorable one. Tellez’s mother passed away from cancer in August, and he almost didn’t return to playing this year. But he was called up by the Jays, pinch-hit an RBI double and pointed to the sky when he reached second base. The Rays’ second baseman, Willy Adames, gave him a hug. After the game, he wrote ‘Mom’ in the dirt by home plate, and did an emotional interview with Hazel Mae. In a season with not much to play for, that was a special moment.
Where we are now:
4th in the AL East, 33.0 games back of Boston
The leaders in the AL Central (actually, they’re the only Central team with more wins than losses), Cleveland, will be in town for four games this weekend. Corey Kluber pitched on Wednesday, so the Jays will miss him, but they will still face Shane Beiber, Carlos Carrasco, Adam Plutko, and Mike Clevinger. Toronto will send Sam Gaviglio, Marco Estrada, Sean Reid-Foley, and Thomas Pannone to the mound. Josh Donaldson will also not appear in this series; following his recent trade to Cleveland, he was sent on a rehab assignment to the minors.
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