With two men on and two outs in the 1st, Kendrys Morales doubled to put the Jays up 2-0. Boston scored a run in each of the next two innings: Hanley Ramirez doubled in the 2nd when Steve Pearce missed a ball in the lights, then moved to third on a single and scored when Raffy Lopez overthrew the second baseman on a pickoff attempt, then Eduardo Nunez led off the 3rd with a home run. Toronto took the lead back with three hits in the 4th, with a Ryan Goins single earning the RBI. The Jays loaded the bases with one out in the 5th, but Josh Donaldson was forced out at home, and Darwin Barney lined out to the pitcher. Kevin Pillar robbed Mookie Betts of extra bases with a spectacular diving catch in the 6th.
*Looks up Catch Probability on @Statcast*
*Sees 38 percent*
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 29, 2017
Danny Barnes took over after Marcus Stroman threw 6.0 innings with two runs allowed (only one earned) on seven hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. Christian Vazquez hit a two-run homer in the 7th, scoring Hanley Ramirez. That made it 4-3 for Boston, and after one out they loaded the bases on a walk, a double, and an intentional walk off Aaron Loup. Mitch Moreland drove in one run, and a walk issued by Ryan Tepera forced in another. Tepera finally got out of the inning with a double play turned from short to the catcher to first base. The Red Sox challenged the play but it was upheld.
Craig Kimbrel came in seeking the save for Boston in the 9th. Lopez led off with a walk, then Justin Smoak hit a two-out, two-run homer to bring the Jays within a run. Jose Bautista walked, putting the tying run on base. But Kendrys Morales popped out, ending the rally. Every Blue Jay reached base at least once. Only two – Pearce and Lopez – didn’t record a hit.
Game 2: Tuesday, August 29
Jays lose, 0-3
Losing Pitcher: Brett Anderson
Brett Anderson made his first start for Toronto and lasted into the 6th. He kept the Red Sox scoreless for five innings, didn’t walk anybody, and at one point set down thirteen consecutive batters. Meanwhile Chris Sale was demolishing the Jays’ lineup, striking out eleven over 7.0+ scoreless innings. Kendrys Morales doubled in the 2nd, but that was the only baserunner Sale allowed until the 8th.
In the top of the 6th, with two outs, Rajai Davis singled. He then stole second, and the throw from the catcher Miguel Montero hit him in the back as he appeared to slide into the path of the ball. Eduardo Nunez blooped a ball over Jose Bautista into right field, and Davis scored. Andrew Benintendi would then reach on a ground ball that couldn’t be relayed to first quickly enough. Nunez was caught in a rundown between third and home, but Montero’s throw to home was over Donaldson’s head and Donaldson landed on top of Nunez (who was safe back at third base).
Hanley Ramirez hit a home run off Dominic Leone with two outs in the 7th, then Davis singled again in the 8th, stole second again, and scored on another Benintendi single. The Jays had their best chance to score in the 8th when they led off with a pair of singles, and Sale was removed from the game. After two strikeouts, Ryan Goins also singled to load the bases – but Steve Pearce hit into an inning-ending forceout. Those four hits represented the only Blue Jays baserunners of the game. Boston had nine hits.
For the first two innings, the Jays mimicked the Red Sox – each team stranded a one-out double in the 1st, and each then hit into an inning-ending double play in the 2nd. Boston got the leadoff man aboard in the 3rd, but the Jays did them one better with Raffy Lopez hitting a leadoff home run. Xander Boagerts got hit by a batted ball in the 4th, and was called out to end the inning. Toronto then loaded the bases with a trio of one-out singles in the bottom of the 4th, but a lineout and a strikeout stranded them that way.
Hanley Ramirez homered to lead off the 5th, tying the game. He then reached against Tom Koehler on fan interference in the 7th, and scored on a Mitch Moreland home run. A leadoff walk and back-to-back doubles off Tim Mayza in the 8th resulted in two more runs for Boston, after which Mayza walked Rafael Devers, the runners pulled off a double steal, and Moreland drove in two more with a single. Toronto tallied six hits while Boston had ten.
The Blue Jays hadn’t been swept at home since June 30th-July 2nd, which was also against the Red Sox. Disappointingly, they’d had the lead in two games this series.
In a move that surprised many fans, the team designated Norichika Aoki for assignment prior to the beginning of this series. He was released outright on the 29th. Leonel Campos was recalled from Buffalo on the 28th, then was optioned back down the next day, allowing for Brett Anderson to be brought up.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- In the ‘dubious distinction’ department, the Blue Jays allowed more stolen bases in this series, without catching any, than ever before in team history.
- Jose Bautista has now passed John Olerud for 8th place on the Blue Jays franchise doubles leaderboard, as he hit his 214th with the team.
My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Stroman/Happ
None of the offense was particularly exciting this series, but Happ and Stroman put together good starts, even though both earned no-decisions.
On Monday, Marcus Stroman pitches six innings with one earned run, seven hits allowed, no walks and four strikeouts. His lone earned run was on a home run. The defense also turned one double play behind him, and his groundout to flyout ratio was 6:3. He threw 62 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Stroman’s ERA now sits at 3.11 for the season.
J.A. Happ followed that two days later with a one-run, six-inning start of his own. He too, allowed the run on a home run. He only allowed four hits, walked four, and struck out two. He entered the game with an ERA of 4.10; it’s now sitting at 3.96.
Where We Are Now:
Last place in the AL East, 15 games back of Boston
The bad news is, they’re 11 games below .500, tying the worst record from this season.
The good news is, the September call-ups will be soon, and that will be an exciting chance to take a look at some prospects that could help the team out next year.
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