Was tying the 3rd-best single month winning percentage in the last 60 years really too much to ask? Despite a couple of late comeback attempts, the Blue Jays could not pull off a 22nd win in the month of August.
The Jays got off to a rough start, with Jason Kipnis hitting the second pitch of the game for a double off of the wall. The very next hitter, Francisco Lindor, hit a groundball to second baseman Ryan Goins. Instead of taking the easy out at first, Goins attempted to throw out Kipnis advancing to 3rd, but he bounced the throw and the Indians would quickly take a 1-0 lead.
Danny Salazar dominated Toronto's hitters early on. He struck out five of the first nine hitters he faced, without giving up a hit. The Jays could only scatter two hits through four innings, but David Price settled in and kept the deficit to just one run.
With two outs in the fifth, the Blue Jays started the "Off the Glove" rally. Ryan Goins and Ben Revere hit back-to-back singles, both deflecting off the glove of Danny Salazar. Up stepped none other than Josh Donaldson who ripped a line drive to deep centre. Abraham Almonte sprinted back, but the ball would ricochet off of his outstretched glove for a two-RBI triple.
David Price held onto the lead until the seventh. After Michael Brantley grounded out to start the inning, the always-disciplined Carlos Santana drew a one out walk. The very next hitter, Ryan Raburn, hit a RBI double off the wall in right. Jose Bautista bobbled the ball a couple of times, allowing Santana to score all the way from first and tie the game at 2-2. A weak groundball single off the bat of Jerry Sands would soon score Raburn and give the Indians a 3-2 lead.
With two-out in the bottom of the eighth, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion crushed back-to-back hits to put the Jays in business. Troy Tulowitzki was intentionally walked to get Justin Smoak, who entered the game as a defensive replacement. The move would prove to be costly, as Smoak struck out to strand the bases loaded. With the team is in need of a hit, Chris Colabello and his higher batting average would have likely been a better option.
The Indians added an insurance run in the ninth off of a poor sequence of plays from Josh Donaldson. With a runner on first base, a ground ball off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall deflected off of Donaldson's glove and headed towards centre field. After chasing the ball down, Josh would airmail a throw over third base and into the stands, allowing Yan Gomes to score all the way from first on the error.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins hit a pair of one-out singles to get the tying run on base. Ben Revere, getting the extra at bat in place of Troy Tulowitzki, would foul out for the second out of the inning. Josh Donaldson had the chance to be a hero yet again, but struck out on a failed checked swing to end the game.
Despite the loss, it was a heck of a month for the Blue Jays as the team finished with a 21-6 record, good for the highest winning percentage in club history.
Jays of the Day: Donaldson had the number, but ruined his chances with a rough 9th inning. Instead, Edwin Encarnacion will get the honour with a two-hit game, which extended his hitting streak to 26 games. Brett Cecil gets the award as well for pitching a clean inning out of the bullpen. He hasn't given up a run since June!
Suckage: Justin Smoak (-.198), Ben Revere (-.148) & Russell Martin (-.141). I'll give David Price a pass for a fairly strong start.
Gersedits: 69 commenters (nice!) combined for 1,627 comments. Belisarius took first place for the game with 143, narrowly edging out promising newcomer Eric H182.
Tomorrow Marco Estrada mans the bump as the Jays look to snap their one game losing streak. Cody Anderson goes for the Washington Football Team. 7:07 Eastern.