A series win against the Tampa Bay Rays? What is that?
I'll be honest, I was expecting the Jays to lose the series this afternoon. And you can hardly blame me for thinking that: Chris Archer has given up 1 run in 22 innings against the Jays this year. As good as Estrada has been this year, particularly against the Rays, the Jays' odds weren't very good this afternoon.
Chris Archer actually had a pretty good start. He went 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk, the only real blemish being the 2-run laser shot off the bat of Chris Colabello to deep left field. Against one of the best lineups in baseball, hardly a bad line.
But Marco Estrada was spectacular, going 8 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits, no walks, and striking out 5. His marvelous change-up was at work today, leading to 10 swinging strikes. One particularly impressive at-bat from the game: he struck out Rene Rivera in the 6th inning on 3 straight swinging strikes on the change-up (after a ball on the first pitch of the at-bat). Caveat here being that Rene Rivera is pretty bad.
Estrada faced only 1 above the minimum (25 batters) thanks to Dioner Navarro throwing out 2 baserunners: in the second inning, the Rays attempted a hit & run with David DeJesus at the plate and James Loney at first, which resulted in DeJesus striking out and Navarro making a great throw to second (from his knees!) to get Loney. The other out on the basepaths came the inning after, when Josh Donaldson and Navarro teamed up for a nifty pick-off play at third base to get Tim Beckham for the third out of the third inning.
Jose Bautista managed to open up the gap a bit more with a 2-run blast to left in the 8th inning, against Brandon Gomes, making it a 4-0 game heading into the 9th.
And who better to protect a 4-run lead in the 9th than Roberto Osuna? Yeah, yeah, he was warmed up already, blah, blah, blah Foyer Gibbo Roberto Osuna came in to the 9th inning to close out the game in relief of Estrada. Kevin Kiermaier, as he wont to do against the Blue Jays, doubled to the gap in left to lead off the inning. It didn't matter, as Osuna struck out the next 3 batters he faced to end the game 4-0.
JOD: Estrada (.487), Colabello (.222), honorable mention to Bautista for the dinger and Dioner for a pretty good game behind the dish, though neither had the number.
Gibby's bullpen management No one. Yay!