The baseballs were flying at the start of the game down in Arlington, as the Blue Jays and the Rangers combined for five homers in a hard-fought 6-5 Blue Jays victory. It was a back-and-forth game, but Toronto edged out the comeback win with a clutch hit by Troy Tulowitzki and a poorly-timed error by Adrian Beltre.
Mark Buehrle wasn't good tonight, with the Rangers hitting him pretty hard at times. Adrian Beltre lined a triple in the first to start the scoring, which was followed by homers from Rougned Odor and the light-hitting Delino Deshields Jr.
But don't forget: the Blue Jays offensive plan of attack is to attack. Chris Colabello hit a solo homer to counter Beltre's triple, then Jose Bautista slammed a two-run homer to counter Odor's blast a half-inning before Deshields tied the game up. The Rangers took the lead in the fourth on an Odor double, then padded it when Ryan Strausborger hit a sacrifice fly to Bautista whose throw home was short and off the mark.
Buehrle ended his outing with 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, but his first four innings ruined his line, leaving the game having given up five runs on seven hits. Rangers starter Derek Holland wasn't much better, with seven hits and four runs surrendered. Both starters struck out three and walked one.
The red-hot Edwin Encarnacion, who has hit in 20 straight games now, made it 5-4 Rangers with a loud solo shot to the left field seats but the Jays' bats were quiet for the rest of the game. The Rangers also were held scoreless after scoring in each of the first four innings
Toronto had a chance to tie the game in the seventh inning when Ben Revere started off the inning with a single up the middle right at reliever Jake Diekman but was held at first when Cliff Pennington failed to put down a bunt, missing on one then popping one up. The bunt popup was not caught, but Pennington swung and popped it up to second a couple of pitches later.
Sam Dyson, who once had the best stuff in the Blue Jays organization, came in and showed off that stuff, which includes a deadly sinking 95 mph sinking fastball, by striking out Tulowitzki on three swinging strikes then popping up Donaldson to foul territory.
Brett Cecil stopped a potential Texas rally in the bottom half of that inning after Liam Hendriks, pitching in front of his father, allowed two to reach. Cecil has quietly been on a very good run, having not given up a single run in the 18.1 innings since he gave up four on June 21.
Texas had the bases loaded against LaTroy Hawkins, who lives in the Dallas area, but he got out of it by inducing Will Venable to ground out to short. They had a chance to score a run on a Bobby Wilson single to Bautista, but Mitch Moreland was held at third. It appears that other teams still fear Jose Bautista's arm despite its decline after injury earlier this year.
In the top of the ninth, closer Shawn Tolleson walked Russell Martin with an assist from home plate umpire Mike Estabrook. Martin, who looked to be hurting every time he runs, was lifted for Ezequiel Carrera. After a Pillar groundout and a Ben Revere walk, pinch hitter Justin Smoak came in for Pennington and swung hard on the first pitch he saw but just got under it to centre field.
With two men on, Tolleson then served up four straight balls to Troy Tulowitzki, but Estabrook disagreed and called the fourth one a strike. But that bad call turned out to be a blessing for the Jays as Tulowitzki hit a clutch Texas leaguer to left field to score Carrera and tie the game. It looked like the Rangers would get out of it when Josh Donaldson hit a grounder to Adrian Beltre, but Beltre threw it wide of first and allowed a Revere to score, giving the Jays a 6-5 lead.
Estabrook truly had a horrible night, with the size of the strike zone shrinking and expanding unpredictably all game, but his poor calls have hurt both clubs pretty equally so all's well! Human Factors™!
The game was sealed up when Roberto Osuna came in the ninth, striking out two on the way. Yes, Shin-Soo Choo singled in the inning but I wasn't worried one bit.
Jays of the Day! Tulowitzki (+.350 WPA), Osuna (+.200), and Colabello (+.112). Donaldson (+.236) had the number for it but +.332 of that came gift-wrapped from Beltre so he doesn't get a JoD from me.
Suckage Jays: Buehrle (-.302), Smoak (-.140), and Pennington (-.120), with an emphasis on Pennington.