The Blue Jays brought their big boy bats to today's series finale, and Chris Tillman brought...well, a picture is worth a thousand words:
Mandatory Credit: Knight of Hyrule
And it was a good thing, because Marco Estrada didn't have his best stuff today, but we'll get to that later. The Jays jumped out to a quick lead in the first when Ben Revere lined a single, and Josh Donaldson smashed a double to left field corner to score Revere. Not to be outdone himself, Jose Bautista launched a 3-2 fastball into the first deck in left field. Just like that the Jays were up 3-0.
Edwin Encarnacion followed that up with a line drive single of his own, and I hoped Troy Tulowitzki might be able to put some icing on the cake and break out of his slump. It was not to be, at least right away, as Tillman rebounded to strike him out swinging on a changeup and retire the next two. He had a pretty easy second inning, and it looked like he might settle in to keep Baltimore in the game.
But there were more meatballs on order. Bautista walked to lead off the 3rd, and Tulo came up with 1 out. This time, he didn't miss the 2-2 changeup and hammered it over the wall in left field to make it 5-0. He got out of the inning with no further damage, but leading off the 4th Kevin Pillar joined the party, depositing a 2-2 fastball over the left-field fence. It was the end of the line for Tillman, to the dismay of the Blue Jays hitters. As Donaldson might say, he was good hittin'.
The Jays were held off the scoreboard until the sixth, when the Orioles had just narrowed the lead to 6-3 but Chaz Roe came in for an abortive and aborted relief outing (h/t Gerse). Pillar lead off with a walk, stole second, and went to third on a Revere bunt on which he reached. To complete the perfect exhibition of small ball, Donaldson drove him in with a sac fly. But then it was back to smash ball as Bautista and EE smacked back-to-back doubles into left field to restore the lead to six.
And that was basically the game, though they tacked on another in 8th after Revere and Donaldson opened with singles. In all, every starter had a hit as they pounded out 15 in total including four doubles and three home runs.
Pitching wise, Marco Estrada turned in 5 innings with 2 ER, but the line looks a lot better than his outing, as was struggled or was in trouble in three of the five. In the 1st, he fell behind the first four batters, walking the leadoff hitter Manny Machado and finishing off Chris Davis with an intentional walk after Machado advanced to second on an errant pickoff. Two strikeouts got him out of the inning, and the Jays staked him to a three run lead.
Estrada started the 3rd with back-to-back walks, but wriggled out of it, inducing a flyout and routine ground ball double play. He had an easy 4th up 5-0, a weak popout and another two strikeouts swinging. It's worth noting at this point he had a no-hitter intact. But he was finally bitten in the 5th, when after an infield single Ryan Flaherty took him yard to make it 6-2. Estrada finished the inning but at 89 pitches Gibby wisely turned it over to the pen.
LaTroy Hawkins came in for the 6th, and had a shaky inning punctuated by an RBI double, but limited the damage. The bats made it moot after that, and the bullpen cruised home. Liam Hendriks had a clean 7th and Lowe an easy 8th outside of a Davis double. For the 9th, up seven, in came Roberto Osuna, who apparently needed a tune-up. He gave a one out meaningless home run to Nolan Reimold, so hopefully he got that out his system.
Did you know?: Josh Donaldson holds the record for most RBI in a player's first season with the Blue Jays. That meaningless split of a largely irrelevant statistic courtesy your friends at Sportsnet. But fear not, a few innings later Buck explained why this is of critical importance (h/t Minor Leaguer):
You know, it’s interesting with all the new metrics everybody wants to have: BABIP and all those WAR and weighted WAR and OPS+ and all that. The game is scored by runs. You knock ‘em in and youo score. That’s how you evaluate good players.
Never change, Buck.
They also managed to make a complete hash of an exceptionally simple bar graph, though this is nothing new:
At least it appears to be to scale?
Jays of the Day: Bautista (+0.149 WPA, 2/3, 2B, HR, BB); Donaldson (+0.098, 2/3, BB, 2 RBI which is how you know he's a good player and why he really deserves a JoD); Estrada also has the number (+0.128) but with 4 BB and a HR in 5 innings, he really shouldn't get one. Let's give one to Ben Revere too (3/5, 3 runs) for doing a great job setting the table.
Suckage: Sportsnet, viz. Buck.
Tomorrow the Jays are in Boston to open a three game set at
7:00 1:35 ET since it's Labour Day. Your author isn't very intelligent, and originally had Wednesday's matchup info here, but Mark Buehrle will probably maybe make the start against Rick Porcello. Sorry for any confusion!