I didn't have much hope coming into the game today, as the Royals trotted out their shiny new ace, Johnny Cueto. After the top of the first, I (wrongly) thought the game was pretty much out of reach, with Drew Hutchison giving up 3 (somewhat) undeserved runs.
But, boy, these Jays can hit.
Josh Donaldson was the hero of the game, going 3 for 5 with a walk, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, and the glorious walk-off single to score Blue Jays Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (still getting used to that).
He also made a horrible error that gave the Royals at least a run He is a God.
Every Jay had at least a hit, except for Justin Smoak, who had a truly awful day at the plate. Ezequiel Carrera, a DFA candidate now with the Jays acquiring Ben Revere, also had a great day at the plate, going 3 for 5 and scoring a run.
And a lot of credit for the pitching for (mostly) keeping the Royals off the board. After the horrid top of the first, Hutch settled down for the most part and ended up with a decent start, going 5 innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, a walk and a strikeout.
One awful moment from the game: after Hutch allowed a leadoff hit to Lorenzo Cain in the 6th, Gibby pulled him for Aaron Loup to face Eric Hosmer, the lefty. On the very first pitch, Hosmer checked his swing and hit a squibler to third base. By the time Donaldson got to the ball, he didn't have a play at 1B. But he threw it anyway. Why did you do that, Josh? The throw sailed over Smoak's reach and Cain scored easily, with Hosmer moving to 3B. That was the end of Loup's night. I think he pooped in Donaldson's coffee this morning.
Anyway, Bo Schultz came in to take over, but Hosmer ended up scoring anyway. Not really Bo's fault. But the very next inning he allowed another run to score, making it 6-3 for the Royals. Nonetheless, the rest of the way the bullpen was pretty fantastic. Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil, and Liam Hendriks combined for 4 scoreless, hitless innings.
Jays had a real chance to break it wide open in the 7th, as the first 5 batters managed to reach base, 2 coming around to score. Down 5-6, they had the bases loaded, no outs, with Smoak coming to the plate, with an opportunity to atone for some ugly at-bats earlier in the game. He managed to plate 1 run, but it was through a GIDP. With the score tied at 6, both teams couldn't get anything really rolling to score, and the game headed to extras.
The 10th was pretty uneventful; both Cecil and Luke Hochevar got through their respective innings with ease. But for the bottom of the 11th inning, 2014 AL Champion Manager Ned "Genius" Yost brought in Franklin Morales, a left handed reliever, to face the 9-1-2 in the Jays lineup. As many expected, it did not end well.
Ryan Goins, the #9 hitter and a lefty, didn't do much and struck out. But Troy Tulowitzki lined a single over the shortstop's head, and the Jays had a man on first, 1 out, with Josh Donaldson up against a left handed pitcher. And then it got a bit weird.
Donaldson worked the count to 3-1, and finally took a pitcher up-and-in, not all that close to the zone, and started walking to 1B. But Everyone's Favourite Umpire Angel Hernandez would have none of that. Hernandez called the pitch a strike, and the boos came raining. Immediately after, Morales attempted a pickoff to 1B to keep Tulowitzki close, and, though I can't really call what's a balk or not, Angel called it a balk. On to second went Tulowitzki, and Donaldson immediately drove the next pitch to left centre field to plate him. Thank goodness for Josh Donaldson.
Whew. That was long.
JOD: Donaldson (.609), Encarnacion (.146), Osuna-Cecil-Hendriks (all .136), Sanchez (.106)
Suckage: Smoak (-.296), Goins (-.132), Hutchison (-.117). Loup had the number, but I can't give it to him for that performance, that would be cruel.
I love this man.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewStoeten">@AndrewStoeten</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/jonaldson?src=hash">#jonaldson</a> <a href="http://t.co/yRpnQKuEyp">pic.twitter.com/yRpnQKuEyp</a></p>— Clay Greer (@CJMGreer) <a href="https://twitter.com/CJMGreer/status/627323200578269184">August 1, 2015</a></blockquote>
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