Gotta love a pitchers' duel....when we win.
It took long enough to score. Anthony Gose walked to start the top of the 9th and stole second base. He moved to third on a single by Jose Reyes and scored on Jose Bautista's single, that just snuck between the shortstop and second baseman.
Reyes almost got himself picked off third base, the Tigers challenged the safe call, but the replay umps in New York said safe. If they had the same views we did, there wasn't anything conclusive. Bautista used the Tigers dismay at the call at third to move up to second base on the play. Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases.
Pinch hitter Kevin Pillar hit a fly plenty deep to score Reyes from third and move Bautista up to third. Then Brett Lawrie made all the small ball stuff seem a waste of time by hitting an opposite field 3 run homer.
It was a very well pitched game. Drew Hutchison went 7 innings, allowed just 3 hits, all singles, no walks and struck out 7. He looked a bit shaky in the early innings but improved as the game went on. Maybe the extra days off helped him stay strong late into the game.
Dustin McGowan pitched a quick 8th. Steve Delabar, on the other hand, came in to start the 9th, gave up a couple of base runners around a hard line out to right, got a strikeout and then gave up a J.D. Martinez homer to give Casey Janssen a save opportunity. Thank you Casey for getting that quick strikeout to end the game.
Anibal Sanchez pitched, if anything, a little bit better than Hutchison. He went 7 innings, allowed just 2 hits, doubles by Juan Francisco and Edwin Encarnacion, no walks and struck out 5. Joba Chamberlain pitched a clean 8th, but the Tigers' bullpen let them down in the 9th. Closer Joe Nathan gave up 2 singles and 2 walks, while getting just 1 out. Ian Krol gave up the Pillar sac fly. And Al Alburquerque gave up Brett's home run.
There was an interesting play in the 3rd inning. Francisco doubled to lead off the inning. Dioner Navarro followed with a ground out to Miguel Cabrera at first. 99 times out of a 100, the first baseman would just go stand on first and take the easy out, but Miguel, knowing Francisco runs like your average somewhat overweight baseball player, threw to third and got Juan on the fielder's choice.
Another interesting moment was Jose Bautista giving Hutchison a talking to, after the first couple of innings. It looked like Jose was telling him to be more aggressive out there. Who says Bautista isn't a leader.
Jays of the Day are Hutchison (.455 WPA), McGowan (.110), Gose (.103), Bautista (.131) and I'm giving one to Lawrie as well. That homer turned out to be a big deal.
Suckage. Well, that's easy. Delabar. Even though Fangraphs only had him at a -.008, it was a terrible outing. Maybe he didn't get enough time to really warm up. Janssen was going to be the one coming into the 9th, until Brett hit that homer. Also getting Suckage numbers were Melky (-.187 for his 0 for 4) and Dioner (-.106, for his 0 for 3).
I mentioned this in the GameThread, but I'll put it here too, I talked Blue Jays with Phil Naessens last night. You can eavesdrop here:
Well, I told you guys that was a statement game thread and you came through. A really gutty, gritty performance, but the grittiest was publius varrus, leading us to the win. In all we had 1947 comments in the two threads. I could have put us over the top for 2000, but I disappeared for a bit. I feel like I let down the team.