It lasted three hours and forty-one minutes, and the Blue Jays blew a three-run lead, but they gutted it out and came back to beat the Rays 8-5 at Tropicana Field. However, the win came at a cost: both outfielder Nolan Reimold (left calf strain) and infielder Munenori Kawasaki (right hamstring tightness) were pulled from the game.
After the game, Alex Anthopoulos addressed the media and told them that while Kawasaki is likely to be available tomorrow, Reimold will have to go get an MRI first. No word on whether mothers were involved.
The Blue Jays offence seems to be slowly coming back. After getting 14 and 12 hits against the Angels, Toronto got 11 hits and eight runs tonight. Yay!
Actually it was the Rays who got on the scoreboard first on an Evan Longoria sac fly in the bottom of the first against Mark Buehrle. A couple innings later, the Blue Jays returned with three runs. Munenori Kawasaki tied the game on a bases-loaded single, then Melky Cabrera followed up with his own RBI-single before Jose Bautista scored Jose Reyes on a sac fly.
The fourth inning saw the two teams trade runs. Nolan Reimold and Dan Johnson both walked, then Juan Francisco grounded out to advance them both, but Reimold arrived at third base and was obviously in some discomfort. He was replaced by Darin Mastroianni at third, who scored on a Jose Reyes single the next at bat. Buehrle allowed three straight hard-hit balls for three line drive singles, resulting in a run.
Buehrle finished after five innings with 93 pitches (60 for strikes), giving up nine hits and two runs on three strikeouts and a walk. He left with his club leading 5-2, in line for his 11th win if the bullpen holds the lead.
Well, that didn't happen. Chad Jenkins, Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, and Casey Janssen combined for four innings of one-hit shutout ball. Unfortunately, Dustin McGowan did not pitch as well.
Coming in to replace Cecil to face Evan Longoria, McGowan walked him in a long (nine-pitch) plate apperance. He then walked James Loney on a short (five-pitch) plate appearence. With two on, Sean Rodriguez slammed a hanging 86-mph slider to the left field stands to tie the game.
The blown lead and two injuries sent Blue Jays fans into a horrible mood. I might have quit baseball forever if they had ended up losing the game. So I'm thankful for Steve Tolleson.
In the top of the ninth, Grant Balfour entered the game and promptly walked Dan Johnson on four pitches. Johnson, called up from the Bisons before tonight's game, still has not had an at bat with the Blue Jays because he walked on all four of his plate appearances tonight. Combined with his triple-A stats, Johnson is now up to 83 walks so far in 2014, which is just 100 fewer than J.P. Arencibia has had in his entire professional career (minors and majors). Johnson has walked 2.3 kilometres on bases-on-balls this season already.
Where was I? Oh yes, the ninth. After the Johnson walk, Juan Francisco struck out (which caused several Blue Jays Talk callers to ask Mike Wilner why he didn't bunt). But then Jose Reyes came up and doubled to right on a bad slider, setting up Steve Tolleson to be the hero. On a 3-2 fastball, with the infield in (and three stacked between second and third), Tolleson
slammed (OK I lied) blooped a Texas Leaguer to right that managed to stayed fair by about a foot to score Johnson and Reyes. It's about time that one of those bloops went in the Jays' favour.
The Blue Jays would tack on another run with a Jose Bautista single to make it 8-5, which was more than enough for closer Casey Janssen to shut the door for his 14th save of the year.
Jays of the Day! Jose Reyes (+.397 WPA), Steve Tolleson (+.230), Dan Johnson (+.168), Aaron Loup (+.138), and Meky Cabrera (+.106).
Suckage Jays: Dustin McGowan (-.473), Dioner Navarro (-.218), and Juan Francisco (-.174)
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays avoid David Price, who is home with a "virus", and will face right hander Jake Odorizzi instead. Game starts at 4 pm and we'll have a GameThread going here. Join us, won't you?