It was expected that the Jays would be in tough against the incomparable Clayton Kershaw, and while he was far from flawless on the afternoon, it was more than enough to hold the Jays at bay. The Jays actually managed 8 hits off Kershaw, including hard doubles from Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar, but he mostly scattered those hits thanks in strong measure to 10 strikeouts without any free passes across his 7 innings.
The Jays got on the board in the 2nd inning, as Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki led off with back-to-back singles. Smoak moved to third when Michael Saunders grounded into a double play, and scored on a Darwin Barney single. Getting any runs off Kershaw is usually impressive enough, but this was really a largely squandered opportunity. The other run came in the 5th when Barney singled and was driven home with 2 out on the aforementioned Pillar double.
On the other side of the ball, R.A. Dickey struggled in the early going. He allowed two baserunners in the 1st, escaping unscathed, but was not so fortunate in the 2nd when Joc Pederson hit a massive solo blast 434 feet to straight away centre into the flight deck to put the Dodgers ahead.
It was the 3rd inning that proved decisive, and put the Jays in a hole they could ill-afford with Kershaw pitching and from which they ultimately could not recover. Back to back singles to lead off got Dickey in trouble, and then Barney botched a ground ball to load the bases. A Josh Thole passed ball moved everyone up a base and scored a run on a close play at the plate (though initially ruled out and overturned). Adrian Gonzalez followed that with a single to plate the two runners, and with still none out it looked like Dickey was on the roped down 4-1.
And then, it was like a flip switched. Dickey bore down and struck out Yasiel Puig before inducing a double play, and completed the next 4 innings allowing just one hit, a Corey Seager single quickly erased on a double play. 7 of the first 13 batters reached safely (including the Barney ball, not that 6 is much better); 13 of the last 14 were retired.
Chad Girodo came in for the 8th, and looked pretty good except for the 2 out bomb he gave up to the
mass of hair purporting to be Justin Turner. Girodo can be a useful part of the bullpen, but he's purely a LOOGY and he's going to get exposed if he consistently faces righties as a sidearming lefty.
Joe Biagini got the 9th with the Jays down three, and it was not without excitement. With one out, Biagini induced a tailor-made double play ball that Barney completely whiffed on as it rolled through his legs. Then this happened:
So yeah, just another day at the park for Pillar. He was a little slow getting up, as it appeared his glove arm got jammed underneath his body on the landing, so hopefully he's okay because it would really suck to have him get hurt laying out for a ball in an ultimately low percentage game. But I don't think it's in Pillar's DNA to not go all out.
Jays of the Day: None by the numbers. Kevin Pillar has the high number at +0.041 WPA, add in another Superman catch and he's a well deserving recipient.
Suckage: Dickey (-0.157), Saunders (-0.097). Barney went 2/3 with a RBI, but botching two routine ground balls will get one on this list everytime. Thole (-0.083) went 0/3 with 2 strikeouts, plus a costly passed ball that led directly to a run.
Tomorrow, the rubber match of the series goes at 1:00 eastern with Marco Estrada taking on Ross Stripling in the Mother's Day matchup.