Game 1: Friday, September 8
Jays lose, 4-5
Losing pitcher: Marcus Stroman
The Jays stranded a pair of walks in the 1st against Buck Farmer. Steve Pearce left the game after the 1st, with an injured back. The Tigers opened the scoring in the 3rd, with a two-out rally set off by a double, a single, a walk to load the bases, and a Nick Castellanos grand slam. They got another pair of singles before Marcus Stroman struck out James McCann to end the inning.
In the 5th, Toronto got on the board thanks to a Richard Urena single and a Teoscar Hernandez RBI double. Hernandez was then picked off of first base for the third out of the inning. Jose Bautista led off the 6th by reaching on a dropped third strike. Justin Smoak singled to advance Bautista, and Kendrys Morales scored him on a single. With two on and nobody out, Kevin Pillar had a chance to contribute to the rally, but he did the exact opposite – instead hitting into a triple play.
Stroman left the game after the 6th, having allowed four runs on six hits and one walk. Danny Barnes pitched the 7th, and allowed a solo home run to Ian Kinsler. Rob Refsnyder pinch-hit in the 7th and hit into a double play, erasing a Ryan Goins leadoff single. Urena led off the 8th with the first home run of his career, and Bautista followed with another solo shot deep into the stands in left. Those were the final runs scored by the Jays, on a total of eight hits.
They reversed the score from the night before, again with home runs playing a role. Miguel Cabrera, in his first game back from a 6-game suspension, hit a two-run bomb in the top of the 1st inning off Brett Anderson. In the bottom of the 1st, the Jays cut that lead in half thanks to a walk, a forceout and a pair of singles. Kevin Pillar picked up his 39th RBI of the year.
Darwin Barney was thrown out stealing second base in the 2nd – he was originally called safe, but ruled out after the Tigers challenged. The Jays hit into a double play in the 3rd, then turned another in the top of the 4th. In the bottom of that inning, Kendrys Morales led off with a walk, Pillar singled, and Teoscar Hernandez reached on a forceout that advanced Morales. Two batters later, Hernandez took off for second base, and was caught in a rundown – but in the meantime, Morales had run home safely to tie the game. The official scorer changed it to ‘scoring on the throw’, but in the hearts of Jays fans, we all know what really happened.
Kendrys Morales just stole home. This is not a drill.
— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) September 9, 2017
Pillar showed off his defense again by crashing into the wall on a catch to end the 5th. Although they loaded the bases (on two walks and a hit batter) in the 5th, Toronto didn’t pick up any more runs until the 6th. Pillar led off with a home run – his 15th of the year – and Barney singled, stole second, and scored on a single from Luke Maile. Morales tried to score again in the 7th, from second base on a Hernandez single, and was less successful. He was thrown out at the plate. Toronto added to their lead when Maile doubled in the 8th and Bautista scored him with a pop-up that dropped between fielders.
Ryan Tepera came in for the 9th with a 5-2 lead. The leadoff man walked, Cabrera singled, and Nick Castellanos drove in a run with a double before the first out. James McCann then scored Cabrera with a single, putting the Tigers within a run. With the tying run on third, and the go-ahead run on first, Tepera got a pop out and a strike out to end the game.
After J.A. Happ stranded a pair of singles in the 1st, he pitched three more scoreless innings. The Jays batters, facing Anibal Sanchez, gave Happ some run support in the form of Richard Urena scoring from first base on a Kendrys Morales single in the bottom of the 1st. The Jays then proceeded to strand the bases loaded. They scored two more in the 4th thanks to a Teoscar Hernandez home run.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 10, 2017
The Tigers answered that with a two-run homer from Ian Kinsler in the 5th, making it 3-2 in favour of the Jays. Dixon Machado, who’d scored the other run, had reached on a fielding error by Urena. Luke Maile prevented further damage by throwing out a baserunner to end the inning. Toronto pulled away in the bottom half when Jose Bautista led off with a single, Morales singled, and Kevin Pillar drove in Bautista. With two on and two out, Hernandez hit another home run to give his team a commanding five-run lead. A single from Darwin Barney prompted Sanchez to be lifted from the game. The Jays had clobbered him for seven runs on twelve hits.
Happ went a full 6.0 innings, with two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. Happ struck out nine batters in his eighth win of the season. Hernandez scored the final Jays run in the 7th inning after hitting a single, moving to third on a Barney single, and running home on a passed ball. Luis Santos took the first save of his career after pitching three scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, got two strikeouts, and didn’t walk anybody.
Josh Donaldson didn’t play in this series after falling ill on Friday.
My Favourite Player(s) of the week: Pillar/Hernandez/Urena/Bautista
Kevin Pillar hit .500 over the weekend. Despite being hitless in the first game, he went 6-for-8 in the next two (4-for-4 on Saturday!) and finished 6-for-12 overall. He hit one home run, drove in three and scored twice. Factor in some of the Grade-A defence he’s known for, and Pillar had himself a great series.
The rookie hitters were on full display this weekend, with both Teoscar Hernandez and Richard Urena hitting their first home runs as Blue Jays (and for Urena, the first of his career). Urena went 5-for-12, with a home run, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, Hernandez went 5-for-11 with a double, two home runs, and six RBI. His two-homer game on Sunday was the first time a Blue Jays rookie had hit two homers in the same game since J.P. Arencibia did it in July 2011.
Jose Bautista collected hits in every game this series, going 5-for-11 overall. He had a walk, doubled, and hit a home run. He also scored four runs, and drove in two more.
Where We Are Now:
Last place in the AL East
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