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An Unnecessary Nail Biter - Jays Win 10-9

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The Blue Jays tried their best to lose this one, but managed to walk away with the W on this Sunday

The Blue Jays lost the Home Run Derby but won the game!
The Blue Jays lost the Home Run Derby but won the game!
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday marked the final game of the Toronto Blue Jays (34-30) four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles (36-25), with the hometown Jays looking to win the series.

For the Orioles, Ubaldo Jimenez took the mound sporting a 3-6 record with a 6.21 ERA on the season. That ERA being the 2nd worst among all qualified pitchers this season.

That said, considering this is the 2016 incarnation of the Blue Jays, and for his career Jimenez has a 6-4 record and a 3.87 ERA vs. Toronto (3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 2015, 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 2016), no one would have blamed you for taking that aching feeling of impending doom in your gut seriously.

I mean, we were wrong... Wonderfully, wonderfully wrong. But, no one would have blamed you.

The Blue Jays countered with surprise might-be Ace Aaron Sanchez. His breakout season has, to this point, been remarkable. Entering play he had a 2.91 ERA, his 2.88 FIP ranks 3rd amongst AL starters. And a 5-1 record. Keep that in mind when you comment after the game. Unlike some of the "fans" on Twitter.

(BOXSCORE for Mobile)

Sanchez took a few more pitches than he'd have liked to (22 in total) but would navigate around a leadoff walk to Adam Jones (which appeared as though Aaron, unsurprisingly, was getting squeezed on) with two strikeouts, one of Manny Machado and the other of Chris Davis, to get out of the 1st unscathed.

The Jays would open the scoring in the bottom of the inning when Ezequiel Carrera and Josh Donaldson led off the game with back-to-back doubles. Then, Edwin Encarnacion continued his hot streak with an RBI single up through the middle of the diamond adding another run for the Jays. A Russell Martin single put two on for Kevin Pillar who put a charge into one that went over the head of Jones in centre scoring Edwin and giving the Jays runners on 2nd and 3rd.

That's when Vance Worley started warming up.

Devon Travis reached out and smacked a ball to right for a double scoring two more for the Jays. This closed the book on Jimenez. He left the game getting just one out (Michael Saunders K).

I'm not used to doing this so early in the game, but Final Line for Ubaldo Jimenez: 0.1 IP, 5 ER on 6 H, 1K and 0 BB.

Worley would get out of the inning combining to strike out the side without allowing another run to cross. Damage done, though.

5-0 BLUE JAYS

A rather weird play happened in the 2nd. The only reason I mention it is because I don't think I've seen it happen before. At least, not very often.

Mark Trumbo weakly grounded a ball back towards the mound. Sanchez, being the only one who had a play, picked the ball up and threw wild to first base. The ball, which had curved into the baseline and was going to miss Edwin by a good five feet, hit Trumbo. And then Trumbo was called out. Turns out, he was running in the field of play (as opposed to inside that box along the 1B line that shows up around 45 feet down). The ball hit him, which made it interference, even though it wasn't going to reach the First Baseman.

Just strange...

Anyway, the Orioles would rally later in the inning managing to score their first run of the game after three straight two-out singles.

5-1 BLUE JAYS

Edwin had an eventful bottom half of the 2nd hitting a two-out double. Then, with the O's in a shift against Saunders, he stole 3rd causing Matt Wieters to have to try and hit Machado on the run with the throw. In all honesty, he probably should have conceded the stolen base, but instead his throw sailed a bit and bounced into left field allowing Edwin to manufacture another Jays run, this time all by himself.

6-1 BLUE JAYS

Kevin Pillar would add to the Blue Jays lead, and DangYouToHeck's signature, with a HR in the bottom of the 3rd that he absolutely crushed over the left field wall and into the 3rd deck (417 feet I'm told). Superman, indeed.

7-1 BLUE JAYS

In the 4th Pedro Alvarez took Sanchez deep to centre for a solo shot to chip into the Jays lead.

By this point Sanchez was nearing 70 pitches in just the 4th inning. To me, it looked as though his fastball command was a bit more erratic than usual. His curve was nice but his fastball was all over the place. Add that with the fact that he had a few long AB's where Orioles fouled off a few pitches or wouldn't chase otherwise nasty curve's and worked the count deep and all of a sudden Sanchez was struggling to get through the 5th.

Speaking of, Adam Jones hit a HR himself in the 5th Inning to centre. Then, with a runner on, Chris Davis went opposite field for a HR of his own to make it a game, again. Wieters would add one of his own (killing Sanchez's ERA and FIP on the season in the process) and suddenly we're in a 1-run game.

7-6 BLUE JAYS

Final Line for Sanchez: 106 pitches, 5 IP, 6 ER on 10 H, 7 K, 3 BB, 4 HR's allowed.

For anyone who cares, this game raised Sanchez's season ERA to 3.38 and his FIP to 3.44. Still Top-10 in the AL, but less impressive than it was entering the game. It was, without question or reservation, a bad start for the would-be Ace of the rotation. The hope is that he can bounce back in time for his next start which will in all likelihood come against the very same Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In the 6th the Jays, thanks to a Fielder's Choice by Edwin, and a walk to Saunders, had two runners on base for Martin. Needing insurance runs Martin came through in a big way crushing a ball to centre for a 3-run HR. Seems like his bat his coming alive recently. It's good to see.

10-6 BLUE JAYS

Adam Jones went deep again in the 8th, this time off Pat Venditte, with a runner on to make it a 2-run game.

10-8 BLUE JAYS

Jason Grilli came in for the 9th trying to close the door on the Orioles. It wouldn't be easy as he'd allow Machado to single before being the victim of a terrible call from the 1B Umpire on an appeal of a swing. But, Grilli struck out Trumbo to bring up Wieters, who would walk to load the bases. Pedro Alverez.

And then, the collective hearts of Jays Nation stopped. Alverez launched a ball deep to right field. The way the ball had been travelling the whole game it was almost assumed the ball would clear the fence for a Grand Slam.

Nope.

Carrera times a jump perfectly and made the catch for the 2nd out (wasn't going to leave the park but it was deep). The 9th O's run scored but they were also down to their final out. Then suddenly, they were down to their last strike with Jonathan Schoop at the plate. Grilli rocked and fired a fastball right by him sealing the victory for the Jays!

10-9 BLUE JAYS WIN!

W - Aaron Sanchez (6-1), L - Ubaldo Jimenez (3-7)
S - Jason Grilli (3)

JAYS of the DAY!
Josh Donaldson (.117), Russell Martin (.172) and his 2/5 night with 3 RBI and HR. Kevin Pillar gets an honourable mention for his HR. And Jason Grilli, too. Also Jesse Chavez.

SUCKAGE
Aaron Sanchez was awful. There is no other word. He's been better, we need him to be better going forward.

Back in action tomorrow when the Jays welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to town. R.A Dickey (4-6, 4.15 ERA) on the bump for the Jays. Jerad Eickhoff (3-8, 3.68 ERA) for the Phillies. 7:07PM Start.


Source: FanGraphs