So that was some 7th inning. Nine runs, eight hits, three homers, a walk, a batter reaching base on a bounced strike 3, and the slowest double play ever turned. Fortunately/unfortunately, none of those runs matter, because Mark Buehrle was excellent, going seven shutout innings on 101 pitches (65 strikes) allowing only three hits, two walks, and ringing up six. Sergio Santos and Chad Jenkins followed with clean innings in the 8th and 9th, lowering their ERAs to 9.58 and 9.00 respectively. Cliff Lee had been similarly dominant prior to the 7th, throwing six strong innings of two hit ball with only one run given up and one walk, before allowing five earned and five hits in the 7th. Sadly for Lee, Mike Wilner isn't writing this recap so we can't just ignore his bad inning, leaving him with a line of 6.1IP, 7H, 6ER, 1BB, 6K.
To the recap!
After a 1st inning that was done before anthems were even finished, Buehrle opened the 2nd with a lolK by striking out Carlos Ruiz looking on three straight low-eighties "fast"balls. The next batter, Marlon Byrd, he of the misspelled first name that gets eaten by his misspelled last name, hooked* the first pitch he saw to left field for a double. Melky Cabrera probably should have been able to field the ball and get it in quickly enough to get Byrd at 2nd, or to at least keep him to a single, but a mediocre route and/or mediocre foot speed led to his being stuck in no-man's land on the bounce and having to retreat and jump just to prevent the ball from getting to the wall. Domonic Brown grounded out on a ball hit deep into the hole at second that Steve Tolleson managed to get to, and well-a Byrd Byrd Byrd advanced to third. John Mayberry Jr. followed with a ball hit deep down the RF line, but Jose Bautista managed to track it down in time and make a nice running catch to get Buehrle out of the inning.
*this seems like it should be a pun, but he really did hook the ball
A quiet Blue Jays half inning later, Cody "Kobayashi" Asche, who had another strong game despite the ofer, making a number of solid plays at 3rd base, opened the 3rd inning by drawing a five pitch walk. Buehrle managed to strike out Jayson Nyx swynging on eyght pytches, with three called strikes all coming on soft stuff on the inner half of the plate. Ben Revere then sent a single bouncing up the middle to put men on 1st and 2nd with one out, but was stranded after Jimmy Rollins (playing DH) popped out foul to EE, and Chase Utley chased a curveball outside the zone for strike three.
In the home half, with one out Colby Rasmus magic'd a single off lefty Lee past Mayberry Jr. at 1B. Tolleson, who had a great game going 3-4 with two doubles and a totally undeserved triple, followed with the first of his doubles, which unfortunately bounced perfectly over the wall in LCF for a ground rule double, temporarily costing the Jays a run. Thankfully, Jose Reyes followed the double with a deep fly ball to right field, allowing Colby to tag up and score the first run of the ballgame. Tolleson probably should have tagged up on the play as well, since the ball was tailing away from Byrd and toward the deep part of the park, but it mattered not, as Melky ended the inning with a K.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th zipped along, with both pitchers making their opponents look foolish at the plate, and allowing no hits and one walk a piece in the process. In the 7th inning, Buehrle allowed a single to Byrd before notching three straight ground ball outs to wrap up his outing.
Cliff Lee's final inning was, uh, not quite as successful.
Edwin Encarnacion led off the inning with a triple off the wall in CF thanks to a lost Revere, whose compatriots evidently could not find a sufficient number of lanterns to warn of an aerial attack. Erik Kratz, Norse god of turkey bacon, followed with a home run deep to left on a fastball over the middle of the plate to give the Jays a three-love lead. Gimpy Legs Navarro added to the hurt with the deepest single one can hit, sending the ball into the left field corner. More importantly, this led to the third consecutive Buckgasm, on, yes, just one home run. Juan Francisco - the best Francisco - followed with a "just enough" line drive homer to RF to make it a 5-0 game. The hit was good for a number of firsts: In addition to it being Francisco's first career dinger off a lefty pitcher, it was also the first
high and deep high or deep ball in the air on which we were not subjected to a Buckgasm, so naturally it left the park.
Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure then visited the mound to tell Lee to, you know, pitch better, and Lee obliged by getting Rasmus to ground out to 2B. The magic power of the mound visit was short-lived, however, and Steve Tolleson knocked his second double of the game to left-ish-center field to chase Lee from the game. Fun fact of the night courtesy of radivel: Steve Tolleson is 5-8 vs. Lee and all 5 are extra base hits. With Reyes at the dish, new pitcher Mario Hollands uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Tolleson to advance to 3rd base, en route to Reyes drawing his second walk of the game. With Melky up, Reyes, whose legs seem to be morphing back into wheels, stole 2nd base. With 1st base now open, Melky maybe-but-probably-not-intentionally swung at a wild pitch for strike 3 and reached first easily. Reyes and Tolleson both advanced on the play as well, bringing the score to 6-0 and sending the Phils to their bullpen for the second time in the inning, this time for former-Jay Shawn Camp.
Jose Bautista welcomed Camp to the game by taking a sinker to LF for a single, keeping his on-base streak alive and scoring Reyes to extend the lead to a number rarely seen by the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars. Then Edwin bumped his wRC+ up over 100 with a no-doubter to deep LCF for the Jays' 7th, 8th, and 9th runs of the inning. Kratz tacked on an extra single for good measure before Dioner Navarro produced the inning-ending GIDP masterpiece you will see below when my internet starts working again and I can go cut a clip (or a friendly commenter (stolarz88!) gets around to posting one first).
With the inning finally over and the fans reminded that the Phillies are actually allowed to bat as well, John Gibbons, channeling Bedazzled Elizabeth Hurley, acceded to our collective wish to see Sergio Santos used not just in save situations, and brought him out to pitch the 8th. Up by 10. To Santos's credit, he was focused despite the leverage index being but a rounding error from 0, and put away the Phillies hitters in order.
In what should have been an uneventful, six up six down 8th, after Francisco popped out to 2B and a Rasmus Krasmus, this happened with Tolleson at the plate, courtesy of stolarz88 and Tony Gwynn Jr.:
Tolleson didn't end up scoring, but really, just look at that route.
As mentioned, a perfect Chad Jenkins 9th later and the Jays were back to .500, still tied with the Sox and 1.5 GB of both the Yankees and the O's, and still(!) the only AL East team with a positive run differential.
Every Jays starter reached base safely, and all had at least one hit except for Reyes (2 BB) and Melky (dropped 3rd strike), while Tolleson, Encarnacion, and Kratz notched three, two, and two respectively. Mark Buehrle is the only Jay of the Day, at +.472, and Melky was the closest to a Suckage at -.075. The Jays had their second consecutive positive StrikeTracker day, with 1.22 strikes gained pitching and 2.54 gained batting, for a net of +3.76 and bringing the season total to -77.15.
Toronto goes for the second mini-sweep at 7:07p to
morrowday, as former Jay and current J A.J. Burnett takes on R.A. Dickey. The loser has to take a letter from the winner's name and become RAJ, the Ned Yost of GMs.