It was a roller coaster ride of twists and turns to finish today's game after little offense for the first half of the game and a deadlock until the bottom of the 8th. But ultimately, a failure to fully capitalize in the bottom of the 8th and a brutal five run meltdown in the top of the 9th meant a Blue Jays loss despite a furious rally back with two out in the bottom of the 9th.
R.A. Dickey took the mound for the Jays looking for his 100th career win, and yet again it was not to be. He pitched 6+ innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out three. Despite a pretty good line, he was in trouble pretty much throughout the start, with just 1-2-3 inning and the first of second batter reaching in each of the other six.
Dickey kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard until the 6th inning, when Xander Bogearts broke the 0-0 deadlock with a lead off home run. After the Jays took the lead in the bottom of the inning, Dickey came back out just under 80 pitches, and proceeded to give up a leadoff double to Brock Holt (who else). John Gibbons then made the right move going to the bullpen, bringing in Mark Lowe.
Unfortunately, Lowe couldn't prevent the run from coming in, as a ground ball to the right side advanced Holt to third, and then another brought him in as Cliff Pennington couldn't handle it with the infield in. Lowe kept the game tied 2-2 with a popout and strikeout to end the inning.
Meanwhile, it hadn't been a great day for the bats, despite facing a leffy starter. Ben Revere led off the game with a single, and that would be the last hit the Jays got until the 6th. In the interim, they did draw four walks over the first five innings, but didn't seriously threathen.
After Josh Donaldson drew the 5th walk of the day leading off the 6th, Edwin Encarnacion came up with one out and smashed a 1-1 fastball over the fence to give the Jays a 2-1 lead that as we saw above would be short lived.
For the 8th, Gibby left Lowe out to face the righty Bogaerts, which was fine. He brought Brett Cecil in to face lefties David Ortiz and Travis Shaw, the latter of whom reached on an infield single that Pennington should probably have made. Then very weirdly in my view, Gibby took Cecil after two batters out for Roberto Osuna (who got the last out). Not that Osuna is a bad option, but Cecil has been dominant for months, doesn't have platoon issues, and had got a strikeout and ground ball.
In the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox played with fire walking Donaldson and Jose Bautista to lead things off, and were quickly burnt by Encarnacion, who singled to left to score Donaldson and give them the lead. Chris Colabello followed up with an infield single to load the bases, but Russell Martin struck out for the third time.
That brought up Kevin Pillar, would blooped a single to centre. Bautista scored, but Encarnacion was held up. It was at this point that Gibby then pinch ran for Encarnacion with Dalton Pompey. This too was very curious, as if he was going to pinch run, the time to do it was probably when EE reached, and Pompey could probably have scored. Ryan Goins then bounced a ball to second on the first pitch, which turned into an inning ending double play. That Jays had a 4-2 lead, which seemed like plenty, but it could and should have been larger.
Having sat on the bench for the better part of 20 or 25 minutes, Osuna came back out for the save. He was greeted by a leadoff double by - who else? - Brock Holt. After a strikeout, Jackie Bradley Jr came up and Osuna got ahead 0-2, but overthrew a couple fastballs to even the count 2-2. Bradley then hammered the fifth fastball he saw for a no doubt, game tying home run.
After a second out, Osuna walked Dustin Pedroia and that was it for his night. Gibby went to Aaron Sanchez, and unfortunately it was all downhill from there. A Bogaerts single put runners on the corners, and then Ortiz singled in the go ahead run. A wild pitch scored another. An intentional walks followed by another single made it 7-4, which frankly seemed academic at the time. Ryna Tepera came in to get the last out.
But there was one final twist. After Pennington and Revere made easy outs, Donaldson walked once again, and then Bautista hammered a home run to make it 7-6. Unfortunately, EE was out of the game, so the Jays went to Matt Hague. He hammered a ball to nearly the same place as Bautista, but it didn't have quite the same legs, smashing off the wall less than five feet from a home run. Still, a single would tie things, and Justin Smoak could even win it. But it was not to be as he bounced to second.
But hey, let's look at the bright side. Even with the Jays loss today and the Yankees winning, they still lead the division by 3.5 games on September 19th.
Jays of the Day: Encarnacion (+0.475 WPA, 2-3, HR, BB). Hague (+0.096) for the situational double, Donaldson (+0.093, 0/2, 3 BB), and Bautista (1/3, HR, 2 BB) are all deserving as well.
Suckage: Sanchez (-0.538), Osuna (-0.305), Martin (-0.146, 0/4, 3 K), Clemens Pennington (-0.114, 0/4, K, poor day in the field). Smoak had the number (-0.142) but that's pretty harsh just for being the guy who made the last out and he also made a nice snag. I'm giving one to Gibby too for a couple of weird decisions.
Tomorrow the Jays will once again look to lock down the series at 1:07, with Mark Buehrle schedules to take on LHP Rich Hill.