The difference in tonight's game was a couple of bouncing balls poked the other way.
With the score knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the 7th, Edwin Encarnacion led off with a double to chase CC Sabathia as Joe Girardi went to the first of his three headed monster in the bullpen in the form of Dellin Betances. He struck out Justin Smoak and retired Russell Martin before walking Devon Travis on four pitches. That brought up Kevin Pillar who bounced a 0-1, 97 MPH 1 fastball the other way though the hole into right field. Windmill Rivera naturally sent Edwin Encarnacion, who, even running with two outs should have been DOA at the plate with even a decent throw.
But Rob Refsnyder's throw from right field was woefully inadequate and offline,
both allowing Encarnacion to score easily and Pillar to advance to second base. Pillar advanced to 2nd on a stolen base, which immediately yielded dividends when Darwin Barney similarly inside-outed a 1-2 curveball and did almost the same thing as Pillar, poking a ground ball into right field to score Travis and Pillar, though he was thrown out trying to advance (really, trying to draw the throw to make sure Pillar scored). But the Jays had all the margin they would need to take the win.
J.A. Happ started and went 6 solid if unspectacular innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. It was a workmanlike 97 pitches, and Happ was probably fortunate to only allow one as the baserunners were generally scattered. The only run scored ain the 2nd when after a leadoff double and single put runners on the corners, Aaron Hicks hit an RBI fielder's choice. Happ allowed some loud contact, though did retire nine in a row from the last out of the 2nd through the 5th inning. That was only thanks to an appearance from Superman in centre field in the 4th. It's probably not worth embedding the video since you've surely seen it before, but alas:
Justin Smoak accounted for the only run off Sabathia, a 2 out
opposite field solo shot in the 4th on the heels of a double play by Encarnacion. Joe Biagini came in for the 7th and continued to look exceptionally good, working around a one out single and ended up picking up the win. Though it did take him 24 pitches to work through four batters. He was succeeded by Jesse Chavez who worked a clean inning on 11 pitches, that pitch count kept down because Darwin Barney decided he wasn't about to be upstaged defensively by Pillar:
Roberto Osuna came into the slam the door in the 9th, though really with how good Chavez was and it being the lowest leverage of save situations he could have been sent back out. But after last night's 9th, it's hard to blame Gibbons for going to his lockdown guy to secure a series victory over
the Evil Empire a division rival.
Tonight's game graph is also very pleasant to look at:
Finally, a public service announcement: Pat Tabler would like everyone to know he's an "analytics guy". I bite my tongue.
Jays of the Day: Pillar (+0.246 WPA, plus the Superman catch), Barney (+0.097 plus the great catch to end the 8th), Happ (+0.266, minus the credit for Pillar catch). Let's give Biagini (+0.087) one too for two strikeouts in the 7th.
Suckage: Jose Bautista (-0.172) with a tough night at 0/4 and a GIDP, the only starter not to reach base.
Tomorrow, Aaron Sanchez will take on Masahiro Tanaka as the Jays go for the sweep at the usual 7:05 eastern.