Jays Beat Royals 7-3, Remain Undefeated In May

Ed Zurga

Winning is fun, but it makes for less exciting recaps.

Mark Buehrle had the most Buehrlesque start ever, pitching to a line of 6.2IP, 7H, 3R (2 earned), 2BB, 4K, and Aaron Loup got the 2.1 inning save without allowing a man on base.

Chris Getz hit second today, because you just can't argue with a career .583 batting average.

Top of the 1st: After a Jose Reyes fly out Getz used the power of smaller samples to make us eat our words about small sample sizes by singling to right and stealing second during a subsequent 9 pitch Jose Bautista walk in which he maybe should have struck out once or twice. With Edwin Encarnacion up, Getz and Jose, both deeply concerned about the team's lack of steals to date, successfully executed a double steal. An Edwin chopper to 3rd allowed Getz, running on contact, to score. Bautista decided to run as well, even though the ball was fielded right along the basepath, and was put out in a rundown. Maybe he was trying to draw Danny Valencia's attention away from Getz to make sure he got home safely? Who knows. Either way, 1-0 Jays after 1.

With two outs in the Kansas City half of the 2nd, Buehrle walked Justin Maxwell and gave up a single to RF to Alcides Escobar. Bautista muffed the ever so slowly rolling ball, allowing Maxwell to round 3rd and even the score at 1s. Nice of Bautista to protect Buehrle's ERA, I supppse.

Buehrle opened the next inning with an Omar Infante walk, and an Eric Hosmer double that was 3 feet from being a home run. Billy Butler then singled to left. Infante scored on the hit to make it 2-1 Royals, but Gose made a strong throw to beat Hosmer at home, allowing Buehrle to escape a 2nd and 3rd, no outs situation relatively unscathed.

Edwin edwalked on 5 pitches to lead off the next inning. A Navarro pop-up later, Juan Francisco crushed a homer to right field to put the good guys ahead 3-2. Brett Lawrie singled to center, but Colby Rasmus Krasmus'd and Gose grounded out to end the inning.

Toronto almost scored again in the 5th inning. After Getz led off the inning by grounding out and proving that he is no longer bulletproof, Bautista lined a ball into the LF corner for what should have been a double. Alex Gordon, master physicist and understander of angles and spin, however, fielded the ball perfectly off the wall and had the ball in to 2nd base before Jose even had a shot to consider going for two. Edwin followed by singling on a soft liner up the middle that allowed Bautista to go from 1st to 3rd, and on which he easily could have scored if not for Gordon having kept him from 2nd base. After a poor first strike call, Dioner Navarro eventually flied out to Maxwell in right to end the inning.

In the KC half of the frame Infante scored again on a Butler double to the left-center gap, tying the game at 3 a piece.

In the 6th, Guthrie struck out Francisco and Lawrie in order, but gave up a no doubter to Colby on a 1-2 slider that he golfed into the crowd to put the Jays back in front by 1. Anthony Gose followed with broken bat single (his second lost bat of the game, after slinging one into the stands in his first plate appearance) and later advanced to 2nd on a pickoff attempt that got past Hosmer at 1st. Alas, Reyes lined out to Guthrie to end the inning after watching the 2nd pitch of the AB, a mid-high fastball, for a strike earlier in the AB.

KC nearly answered again, when Alex Gordon led off the home half with a double and tagged and advanced to 3rd on a Valencia fly out. After Maxwell went down swinging, Escobar sent a fly ball deep to the right-center gap but Rasmus just managed to keep pace and made a diving catch to end the inning and preserve the Blue Jays lead. The play was Jay of the Day-worthy even if he hadn't had the number from his offensive contributions.

Guthrie was pulled to start the 7th, finishing with a line of 6.0IP, 8H, 4ER, 2BB, 4K, and was replaced by righty Michael Mariot, who pitched a clean 7th.

Buehrle got the first two batters in the 7th, Jarrod Dyson and Infante, to fly and pop out respectively before being pulled for Loup with Eric Hosmer up. Presumably because Ned Yost is a gentleman, scholar, and all around nice guy, Hosmer, former prospect extradorinare and current professional successful hitter of baseballs, tried to bunt for a hit. He was unsuccessful.

The The Ned Yost Experiece does raise one benefit of the Jays having weak hitters in the 2 hole: every one of their bunts is ever so slightly less wasteful than those by teams with more capable number 2 hitters. Small victories!

Toronto thanked Mr. Yost by blowing the game open in the 8th, scoring 3 runs in the inning.

Navarro walked, Francisco singled, and Lawrie singled on a grounder to the SS-3B hole that Escobar got to with a dive but from which was unable to get up and make a throw to 3rd. Bases loaded. Mariot walked Colby on 4 pitches to make it 5-3, and was subsequently checked out of the game, because easy puns are the worst, and Louis Coleman brought in. Gose welcomed him to the game with a single-turned-double thanks to some good awareness on the basepaths, bringing the score to its eventual final, 7-3 Blue Jays.

Most importantly, the Jays did not have a 3 run lead to end the inning. Four times in the last 8 games, Toronto has had a 3 run lead and has ended up relinquishing it quickly, and losing by at least a field goal.

Juan Francisco (.237, 2-5, HR) and the aforementioned Rasmus (.203, HR, lead-saving catch) are you Jays of the Day. Only Reyes had the suckage number, at -.104 on an 0-5 night. Every other starter had a walk or a hit, with Brett, Francisco, Getz and Gose each getting two hits. Bautista bumped his league-leading BB% up ever so slightly to 24.6%, for a lead of 4.1% over second place Josmil Pinto of the Twins.  Also of note: in the 4th inning Buehrle showed off his gold glove, snaring a hard liner for the 3rd out.  Maybe he'd be willing to audition to play second base on rest days?

On the StrikeTracker front, the Jays were a net +1.8 strikes on the night, losing .6 strikes while pitching, but gaining 2.4 with the Royals on the bump.

Tomorrow the Jays head to the terrifying land of the National League, a treacherous plane littered with double switches, pitchers holding bats instead of balls, and Mr. Met, for a three game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. First pitch is at 7:05 pm.

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