Jays Lose 10-8, Teams Combine For 47 Home Runs

Tom Szczerbowski

I've been informed that Melky and Lawrie have eaten Tom and jays192 whole, so here's a recap until one of them is expelled.

Managing a bullpen shouldn't be too hard, right?  Even if they don't explicitly know the numbers, managers obviously understand the concept of leverage, don't they?  Let's even accept the premise that Your Best Pitcher Must Not Pitch Before The Ninth Inning No Matter What.  Even then, how do you go to your long man with the bases loaded, none out, and up by three?  5th inning? Oh, well then, better go with a guy who can pitch another couple innings, rather than using a more effective pitcher to get out of the inning and going to the long man in the top of the 6th.  Oh, the pitcher has fly ball tendencies as well? Awesome! Gah.

Anyway, that bit of managerial brilliance, and the 6 run inning it begat, overshadow what was a strong game by the bats, and an equally poor game from McGowan.

After starting the 1st with a K and and a deep fly out, McGowan left a slider out over the plate, and Chris Davis crushed it into the second deck in center field for his second homer of the season.  In the Jays' half, Melky Cabrera led off with a first pitch double, extending his hit streak to 6 games - amazing what not having a tumor on your spine will do for you - but nothing more came of the inning.

A 4 pitch top of the 2nd, and Chris Tillman was quickly back on the mound.  Tillman opened the home half of the 2nd by hitting Juan Francisco (who Buck seems to think is Encarnacion) in the knee with a cutter.  Francisco and Dioner Navarro then combined to trundle 3 bases on a Navarro liner down the right field line.  Colby followed with a comebacker to the pitcher.  Francisco got caught in a rundown and was tagged out, but extended play long enough for Colby to reach safely.  Lawrie then used STASH SMASH and took the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center for a 3 run homer.  Tillman, his wheels firmly removed from his wagon at this point, issued a four pitch walk to Ryan Goins, who Jose Reyes subsequently drove in with a 2 run homer to right.  Melky, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion combined to push through the Jays' 6th run of the inning.

The O's responded in the top of the 3rd.  Jonathan Schoop hit a leadoff double and scored on a Nick Markakis single.  Nelson Cruz then hit a solo home run, which would have been a 2 run shot but Markakis got caught in a rundown earlier in the at bat after guessing on McGowan's delivery and taking off from 1st base too early.  6-3 Jays.

Then the 5th inning happened.

Ryan Flaherty walk.  Schoop single.  David Lough HBP on a ball thrown behind him that I'm pretty sure never touched him.  McGowan pulled after 43 strikes on 70 pitches. Formerly-highly-capable bullpen manager Gibbons brings in Tood Redmond in with the bases loaded.  After a Nick Markakis pop up, Nelson Cruz smacked a grand slam on a sinker high in the zone to give the Orioles a 7-6 lead.  It's almost as if one should use once's best relievers in high leverage situations instead of deploying them by inning. Chris Davis and Adam Jones followed with identical singles to center.  A Matt Wieters double to CF and JJ Hardy sac fly that was 4 feet from a home run later, and the Orioles had hung their own 6-spot. Redmond was unsurprisingly replaced, and Happ closed out the inning in Happian fashion.  Jays entered the inning up 3, left it down 3.

McGowan's final line: 4.0IP, 5H, 6ER, 1BB, 5K, 2HR.
Redmond's final line: 0.2IP, 4H, 3ER, 0BB, 0K, 1HR

Bottom of the 6th: RYAN GOINS HIT A HOME RUN, which is as sure a sign as any that a pitcher should be pulled/DFA'd/publicly humiliated in the town square, to make it a 2 run game.  After a Cabrera single with 2 out, Ryan Webb, who shuffles into his windup much like a dog looking for a place to poop, came in to face Bautista and avoided the strike zone like the plague before ringing up Edwin to escape the inning.

In the top of the 7th, Adam Jones fouled ball down the line into 5th deck and eventually struck out.  Happ then gave up what is, short of using the automatic home run cheat in Ken Griffey Jr's Major League Baseball, the least unexpected home run of all time to the next batter, Wieters, to restore the 3 run Orioles lead.

The Jays would get their final run of the game in the bottom of the 7th.  With 1 out, Navarro hit his second of 3 singles, Colby flied out again, Lawrie reached base with a comebacker that bounced just off Brian Matusz's glove and into no-man's land.

Gerse-approved managerial move upcoming!

With 2 on 2 out, Gibbons subbed Goins out for Moises Sierra, and Buck Showalter responded by replacing Matusz with Darren O'Day.  Gibbons, in turn, swapped out Sierra for Thole to get the righty-lefty match-up.  Thole rewarded the decision with a single up the middle to drive in Navarro.  The next batter, Reyes, hit a foul ball down the LF line barely inches from a ground rule double after it bounced into the stands.  Unfortunately, Sal Butera confirmed that the call was correct.  Reyes then took a crummy strike call to bring the count to 1-2, before eventually striking out. 10-8 Orioles it was, and 10-8 it remained.

The Jays made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th, stringing together Navarro, Lawrie, and Colby singles to load the bases with 1 out.  Alas, Jonathan Diaz, up after subbing in as a pinch runner for Thole (which he had to do since Thole wasn't going to be playing 2B any time soon), did not take the obvious advice of "do not swing at anything, let Reyes win or lose the game" and grounded into a double play.

JoD awards go to Dioner (.164, 3 hits), Brett (.362, 3 hits, HR), and Goins (.101, HR).  Suckage awards for Homerun DMc (-.215), Redmond (-.463), Edwin (-.178, 1-5), and Diaz (-.338 for the GIDP), and a dishonourable mention to Juan Francisco, who was 0-4 with a golden sombrero.  Every other starter had a hit.

The Jays try again tomorrow at 7:07pm.

In schadenfreude news (as if there's any other kind of joy), Michael Pineda was tossed from the Yankees-Sox game for having pine tar on his neck.  Smart man there, robbing the same bank twice in a week.  He will surely be suspended for just enough days that he doesn't miss any starts.

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