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Unlikely Sources Rally Blue Jays to 6-3 Win Over Oakland

The Blue Jays rode the wave of unlikely contributors (and some likely ones) to come out with the 6-3 win over the Athletics on Sunday.

Ezequiel Carrera led the Blue Jays offence for a second straight game against the A's
Ezequiel Carrera led the Blue Jays offence for a second straight game against the A's
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The rubber match between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland Athletics set the stage for a potentially transcendent moment in the pantheon of baseball history. One of the All-Time great, if not the greatest, redemption tales the MLB has seen. The kind of epic true story of rags to riches to rags and back to riches used as Oscar bait every year. Or, failing that, perhaps the kind of movie that Disney will one day make. Probably starring Kevin Costner. Because of course it will. They all do.

That's right; it's Rubber Match - Return of Drew Hutchison!

Okay, maybe I'm overselling. Kevin Costner wouldn't be able to play the role. Maybe Chris Pratt. He's in everything. Comment below on who will play Drew Hutchison in his movie.

(BOXSCORE for Mobile Users)

Hutchison is coming off a season that was, for all intents and purposes, a massive step back in his career.

For those in need of a refresher;

Placed with the expectations to improve on his 2014 campaign and become a top-of-the-rotation arm, he started the year as the Opening Day starter for the Jays. Yes, that was largely because Marcus Stroman was injured but the point remains, he was expected to do some great things. What followed was a season that saw his K/9 drop from 8.97 to 7.72, his ERA balloon from 4.48 to 5.57 and his FIP and xFIP rise from 3.85 and 3.82 to  4.42 and 4.21, respectively. He would later lose his spot in the rotation, and ended the season by not making an appearance in the playoffs for the team.

Not really as scripted.

Being more serious now, the start for Hutchison is expected to be a spot-start simply to give the rest of the rotation an extra day off. The team has played twelve straight days entering play and, after an off-day Thursday, will not see another day off for two weeks.

For the A's, Eric Surkamp (0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 IP this season) would take the ball looking to complete the series win.

Hutchison somewhat struggled with his pitch count but was never in very much danger in the first inning. A base hit to J.J Josh Reddick, who later stole second, was the only offence Oakland could manage off the righty. Still, he threw 20 pitches to get through the inning, striking out one in the process. About as good a start to the game as anyone could realistically have asked for.

Meanwhile, the recent play of Ezequiel Carrera, who had a great day yesterday going 4-for-5, continued today with a single in the first inning (and a stolen base that didn't count because it was also ball four to Jose Bautista). More on him later.

The start of the second inning brought with it an unpleasant shift in the narrative of our little would-be feel good story when Khris Davis, henceforth known a villain, took Hutch deep to right-center and over the wall for a homerun.

1-0 Bad Guys (A's).

Hutch would settle down and get Chris Coughlan to ground out (on a great play by Darwin Barney) and K'd Marcus Semien. Yonder Alonso would reach but then sort of, but not actually, get thrown out stealing second when replay showed he came off the base for a split-second during a pop-up slide. Not sure I like the rule, I personally feel it isn't in the spirit of the rule, but it is what it is.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Carrera would completely derail our chances of ever convincing anyone to buy this script as a non-fiction work when, while leading off the inning, he hit his first homerun of the season over the right field wall. No one will believe that happened.

Continuing the inning,  Justin Smoak would single (following a Josh Donaldson double and Troy Tulowitzki intentional walk (interesting strategy) bringing in the Jays second run. Kevin Pillar's RBI single would bring in the third. Finally, continuing the string of unlikely producers, Darwin Barney would single in the Jays fourth run to complete the onslaught and give the Jays a three run lead through three.

4-1 Jays after three innings.

Meanwhile, Hutch continued to see his pitch count elevate thanks in large part due to some command issues that saw him fall behind many hitters. This forced him to battle back from 3-0 and 3-1 counts continuously, but, thanks to some strong defence behind him and a few well-timed K's, he managed to limit the damage to just that one run through four.  

The Jays would build on their lead in the 5th with a 2-run bomb by Bautista with Donaldson on board following a walk. At this point, I think we can all agree how ridiculous Hutch's run support is. The bats just seem to always come alive when he is on the mound.

But, that might be my confirmation bias at work.

6-1 Blue Jays

Surkamp would be chased after 4.2 IP allowing 6-runs, all earned, on 9-hits, 4 BB, and striking out 3.

A second HR given up by Drew Hutchison, this time off the bat of  Reddick closed the gap to 6-2. One out later and Gibby would take the long walk out of the dugout to go and close the book on our story.

6-2 Jays through six.

The final line on Hutchison: 5.2 IP, 2 ER's on 4-hits, 3 BB, and 5 K's. He threw 95 pitches but only 55 for strikes and left in line for the win. The results were fine, the process was shaky, all in all he was fine. And, to thank him, he'll be sent back to Buffalo at some point tonight (if it hasn't already happened the moment he stepped off the field).

Jesse Chavez would come in to relieve him and finish off the inning six pitches later. However, the 7th would not go as smoothly. Coughlan would drive a ball over the wall in right bringing the A's within 3.

6-3 Blue Jays

A long drive by Semien in the next AB that fell a few feet short of the wall in CF would end Chavez's night as he was replaced by Brett Cecil. Cecil would face two batters, retiring them both, before being relieved by Drew Storen who retired the side in the 8th sending us to the 9th and Roberto Osuna.

He would get Stephen Vogt to fly out, Khris Davis to ground out, before striking out Coughlan to end the game and seal the Blue Jays victory.

6-3 Blue Jays WIN! And they take the series two games to one.

Ezequiel Carrera went 2-5 with a HR, Drew Hutchison pitched fine in a very tough spot-start going 5.2 IP.

The Jays are back at it tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox. 7:07 PM start time and, if my Score App is correct, Marcus Stroman will be on the mound for the Jays.

Source: FanGraphs