It was a good night for the bats as they hit twice as many home runs on the night as the Rangers scored runs, scoring early and often to allow Mark Buehrle to cruise to an easy win. Edwin Encarnacion led the Blue Jays offence with three hits and two home runs, with Russell Martin and Danny Valencia both hitting solo shots as part of a 13-hit attack.
The Rangers jumped out to the lead in the 1st, as Prince Fielder took Mark Buehrle yard after back-to-back strikeouts to start the game. It was to be shortlived however, as in the bottom of the inning Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista walked, sandwiched around a Josh Donaldson single to load the bases with none out. This is known as playing with fire, and Edwin made the Rangers pay, belting a hanging curveball to dead centre field for a grand slam. Though we didn't know it at the time, it was all the Jays would need.
The Rangers clawed one right back in the 2nd, as Buehrle walked Elvis Andrus followed by a double and RBI groundout. I thought Buerhle was getting squeezed in the early going by our friend Angel Hernandez, but he also seemed to benefit later in the outing. But the Jays responded in the bottom of the inning, with a leadoff double from Kevin Pillar followed by Devon Travis reaching on a fielder's choice. Reyes cashed Pillar with a ground ball deflected off the first basemen, fielded by the second baseman to flipped to the covering pitcher. He was initially ruled safe, but it was overturned on review. Donaldson drove in Travis and pushed the lead to 6-2 on a bloop single in front of the lack-of-Rangers RF, Shin-Soo Choo.
From there on, it was all Blue Jays, with Buerhle facing one over the minimum from the 3rd through 6th innings. He was assisted by a great catch in the 6th on the heels of a GIDP by--you guessed it--Kevin Pillar. He ran into a little trouble in the 7th, but came out unscathed, turning in a 97-pitch quality start. John Gibbons then turned to Liam Hendriks, one of his better relievers in a 9-2 game (when he started warming). Why? Who knows. Rob Rasmussen finished off the 9th. I don't quite understand why he couldn't have pitched two both innings of the blowout since he was going to be optioned anyway right after the game, but alas.
Russell Martin hit an opposite-field solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd. They tacked on two more in the 5th, though perhaps should have had even more. After Bautista walked and Encarnacion singled leading off, Chris Colabello ripped a double off Leonys Martin's glove in centre. Bautista scored easily, but Luis Rivera made a terrible decision to send Encarnacion, who was out by a mile. Okay: maybe not a mile, but a good 20-30 feet. Colabello took third and Martin cashed him on a sac fly.
In the 7th, Encarnacion took his parrot out for its second trot of the night, hitting a majestic fly ball to left-centre field. Pillar knocked in another on a soft single up the middle that was kept on the infield. Trying to save their bullpen, the Rangers brought in infielder Adam Rosales to pitch the 8th, and pinch hitter Danny Valencia took him yard. Encarnacion was up next, and just missed his third home run of the night, crushing the first pitch to warning track. Rosales did hit 90 MPH getting Ryan Goins to ground out, so that's something. As is this fact:
Danny Valencia is the first #BlueJays player in EXACTLY 32 years to hit a Home Run off a position player (Rance Mulliniks & Mickey Klutts)— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) June 27, 2015
Minor Leaguer passes along that those home runs were off Manny Castillo, who pitched 2.2 innings in a 19-7 Blue Jays victory 32 years ago.
Jays of the Day: By the numbers, just Encarnacion (+0.191) but only because the game was out of hand so early. I'll give one to Buehrle (7 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) for doing his usual thing and doing a lot to keep a 12-2 game to 2 hours and 26 minutes. Half the offence deserves one, but I'll single out Kevin Pillar (+0.039, 2-4, 2B and the great catch).
Suckage: None, but I'm giving one to Luis Rivera for the awful send of Encarnacion, even though it would have barely moved the WPA dial. Call it a lifetime achievement award. I'm tempted to give one to Gibby too.