A poor second inning by Aaron Sanchez put the Blue Jays in a hole they weren't able to climb out of tonight as Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez took the sting out of the team's bats. The 31-game doubles streak came to an end as Toronto was only able to muster four singles in a rather flatly-played game.
Both teams went down without much noise in the first inning, but the second inning is where it all went wrong for Sanchez. Consecutive walks to Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy set up a sacrifice bunt by David Lough that shifted the runners over. The command had truly abandoned Sanchez by this point and Caleb Joseph took advantage by doubling a hanging curveball down the left field line to score both Davis and Hardy. The trouble was just beginning for the righty as two hitters later, Manny Machado found himself in a fastball count and promptly took advantage. A double to the wall brought Joseph home to make it 3-0 with Alejandro De Aza driving the third baseman in shortly after on another double off a fastball. A wild pitch subsequently put De Aza on third before Jimmy Paredes singled him in to bring the number of runs scored in the inning to five.
The Blue Jays looked to get something back in the top half of the next inning, but they decided to shoot themselves in the foot instead. Leading off the inning, Ezequiel Carrera was hit by a Miguel Gonzalez fastball that was originally called a foul ball before a John Gibbons challenge overturned the call on the field. Devon Travis followed that up with a single to right which De Aza made a mess of on the throw resulting in runners on second and third. Just let the meat of the order do their thing after that right? WRONG! HAHA IT WAS A TRICK. Carrera decided to play chicken with Manny Machado on a grounder to third and lost as he was tagged out trying to get back to the base. Gibbons used another challenge on his left fielder, but this time he wasn't as successful. Jose Bautista came up next and grounded into a double play, leaving everyone in Blue Jay land shaking their heads.
The bottom of the third saw another great diving catch by Kevin Pillar in center field which may have saved a run as Chris Davis was standing on second base thanks to an interesting fielding display by Carrera. One inning later, Sanchez rushed a fairly routine play resulting in an error but escaped the inning with no more harm done.
The fifth inning contained little notable action other than Edwin Encarnacion getting smashed in the chest with a ground ball off David Lough's bat thanks to a weird bounce. Buck Showalter was seen plugging his ears yelling about how the Rogers Centre turf is still worse. That hard hit ball probably would have come to a complete stop before reaching Encarnacion in Toronto!
A pair of two out walks in the sixth frame put an end to Aaron's night with his final line being 5.2 IP with seven hits, four walks and one strikeout resulting in the five earned runs in the second inning. Liam Hendricks came into the game in his usual "ambiguous and non-optimal role" that Gibbons has placed him in lately. After smashing Adam Jones with a fastball to keep things interesting, the righty got Chris Davis to fly out and end the inning.
Hendricks remained on the mound for the bottom of the seventh walking David Lough with one out. Why am I telling you this rather unimportant fact you wonder as you sip your evening drink of choice? Well it adds context to the fact that Russell Martin threw him out two pitches later. David Lough isn't that quick on the base paths and Russell Martin throws out almost half of the baserunners who try to steal against him so the Baltimore left fielder's massive jump did little to turn the showdown in his favour.
Lough was nearly halfway to second base before Russell Martin even got the ball. But he threw him out anyway. pic.twitter.com/70rEvRi0Z0— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) May 14, 2015
Still sitting well below 100 pitches, Gonzalez took the mound in the eighth and gave the Blue Jays a ray of hope. A leadoff walk by Kevin Pillar was followed up by a Ryan Goins bloop single to put men at first and second. Danny Valencia then pinch-hit for for Carrera. Let's just make this very clear in case you're only casually reading this recap. Miguel Gonzalez was on the mound throwing the baseball with his right hand. Ezequiel Carrera is a left-handed hitter who is better against pitchers of the right-handed variety. Danny Valencia is a right-handed hitter who should not be allowed outside of the dugout unless a southpaw is on the mound. The former Royal only took the bat off his shoulder once in the at-bat (maybe the best strategy) and went down on a full count fastball that was a mighty close call.
With two outs Josh Donaldson walked on a passed ball in the dirt that brought Pillar home to get the Blue Jays on the board extending their season-long streak of scoring at least a run in every game. Darren O'Day relieved Gonzalez setting up the matchup everyone was looking forward to against Jose Bautista. The clash was as anticlimactic as graduating high school and the rally was over on a first pitch comebacker to O'Day. With all of the air coming out of the balloon after the Bautista out, it was pretty obvious the game was over as well.
Brett Cecil took over for the bottom half of the inning and gave up Rey Navarro's first major league home run to left field. With the score sitting at 6-1, the Jays entered the ninth still without a double for the first time in 31 games. A Russell Martin single wasn't a double and the streak was snapped as Kevin Pillar grounded out weakly to third baseman Manny Machado to end the contest.
Devon Travis, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, and Ryan Goins had the only Jays hits in the game while Josh Donaldson had two walks. Miguel Gonzalez ended with a line of 7.2 IP with three hits, three walks, five strikeouts, and one unearned run on 101 pitches.
There's no Jays of the Day as four singles by four different players and a poor pitching performance aren't exactly the equation for any high WPA's.
The only Suckage Jay is Aaron Sanchez (-.312) as after the second inning the game wasn't close enough for any high leverage situations.
The Jays record now stands at 17-18 and the team will travel south to Houston for a four-game series with the surprising Astros. Colby Rasmus and his new friends lead the American League West and it should be an interesting few games to see what all the buzz is about.