The Jays took a third straight game from Kansas City to guarantee a series win on the road behind solid starting pitching, some timely hitting, and some deft baserunning.
On the Mound: Ricky Romero was excellent. Yes, he benefitted from the wind on a pitch that Jeff Francoeur crushed with a runner on. The hit could've easily been a home run or have gone off the wall, but the wind blew it back to Rajai Davis. Romero took advantage and went 8 strong innings, striking out 5, walking two, and inducing a ton of ground balls (13) which the Jays were sometimes, although not always, able to turn into outs (more on that later). In the only inning in which Romero did give up runs, the fifth, it was largely due to some sloppy fielding and poor luck. It was a very strong performance from the Jays' young ace.
At the Plate: The Jays managed five runs without hitting a long ball, although J.P. Arencibia was robbed of one by the wind in the second inning. They did it with patience at the plate (8 walks, including 3 from Jose Bautista), some timely baserunning, including four stolen bases, and just two extra-base hits (doubles by
Arencibia Encarnacion and Rajai Davis). The scoring started in the 5th. Davis doubled, J.P. Arencibia walked, and then Davis swiped third. Escobar punched a pitch the other way and it made it through the infield and put Arencibia on second, and after Omar Vizquel (who was puzzlingly batting second) flew out, Jose Bautista hit one off Alcides Escobar's glove. Brian Butterfield sent J.P. Arencibia, who isn't exactly fleet of foot, racing for the plate, and the catcher just made it. The Jays still weren't done - after Encarnacion was walked to load the bases and Duffy struck out Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie went the other way with a pitch and got enough on it to score both Bautista and Escobar. The Jays managed another run in the 8th when, with J.P. Arencibia on first and Brett Lawrie on third, Arencibia took off and when the throw came into second base, Lawrie broke for home and made it easily.
From the Pen: Francisco Cordero, filling in for Sergio Santos, was pretty bad. He got Eric Hosmer to ground out, but then put three straight men on base, getting the score to within two and putting the tying run on first. Cordero managed to get a game-ending double play, but the inning wasn't exactly confidence-inspiring.
In the Field: This wasn't pretty either. In the 5th, a popup that looked like it would get far enough out to be a routine play from Rasmus dropped in when the wind carried the ball back toward the infield. Escobar can certainly be forgiven for thinking it was Rasmus' ball, but he really should have stayed with it a lot longer than he did. He gave up on it almost immediately and it turned out to be well within his range given how long the ball remained in the air. Escobar compounded his mistake a few plays later when Romero induced what looked like a double play and Escobar threw the ball away, then tried to make the case that he was interfered with by the runner (there was very little evidence of this). Brett Lawrie fumbled a ball an inning later, but stayed with it long enough to make the play, and on the next play, Rajai Davis actually slipped in left field but was fortunate enough to fall right where the ball was landing and made the play anyway. Can't really blame Davis, and in fact he looked good in left other than the slip. Brett Lawrie took a ball off his chest a few innings later, and that one did cost Romero a baserunner, but the runner didn't end up scoring. Romero is good enough to work around some mistakes in the field, but the Jays were lucky they didn't have one of their younger pitchers on the mound.
Tomorrow evening the Jays will go for the series sweep as Brandon Morrow takes on Bruce Chen.
Jays of the Day: Romero, Lawrie, and Bautista. I'll give Davis honourable mention for getting things started in the 5th with the double and nifty steal of third.
Like the game thread post, the title is from a song by the Kansas City area's New Amsterdams called Long, Lost Shot. I thought the title was appropriate given the two hits that looked like sure home runs that the wind brought back.