The bats came out in full force tonight, putting up 13 runs on 17 hits and knocking Phillies starter Aaron Nola out in the 4th inning. After being shutout Monday night, the Jays hung 31 runs on Philly pitching over the next three games to take the series. That offensive explosion allowed J.A. Happ to essentially work on cruise control, going 7 innings in total and allowing just a single unearned run in his last inning. He gave up 3 hits, walked 2 (including annoying walking the pitcher after getting ahead 0-2 when it was still reasonably close), and struck out 5.
The one sour note was that Jose Bautista left the game in the bottom of the 7th, when Cameron Rupp lined a ball to deep right that Bautista leaped for and missed near the warning track, stumbling into the wall where his foot went crashing into the base of the wall. He appeared to be in significant pain, but all we know for now is that he has a sore toes and X-Rays are scheduled. But if a DL stint is required, tonight will feel a lot more like a Pyrrhic victory.
The Jays got on the board almost right away, with Edwin Encarnacion continuing his annual hitting-out-his-mind streak with a 1 out home run to bring home Josh Donaldson who singled right before him. Three pitches later Michael Saunders made it back-to-back with his 12th home run of the year, and the Jays were up 3-0.
In the 3rd, Donaldson and Encarnacion walked to leadoff the inning, as the Jays looked to create some serious distance. Michael Saunders hit another ball sharply and hard, but to straightaway centre and it was hauled in though Encarnacion moved to third. Russell Martin fell behind 0-2 and it looked like the Jays might not cash the runner, but Martin put together one of those professional at-bats (sorry to sound like Buck and Tabby, but it actually applies) here, fouling off a bunch of tough pitches before lining a RBI single.
A Kevin Pillar single loaded the bases, and Darwin Barwin tapped a grounder to second on which the Phillies tried to turn the inning ending double play. Kevin Pillar broke it up to plate another run, but on review the slide was ruled illegal and the run came off the board. It felt like the Jays got hosed, but you can be the judge
This Kevin Pillar slide was deemed illegal. Egregious. pic.twitter.com/vspqSVCc5I— Faizal Khamisa (@SNFaizalKhamisa) June 17, 2016
Alas, it ends up merely as a footnote, since the Jays made it moot in the 4th. Ryan Goins continued to hit well, ripped a double off the right field wall. J.A. Hap tried to sacrifice him over, but Rupp couldn't find the handle and Happ beat it out to bring the top of the order back up. Whoops. Bautista had an RBI single, and Donaldson walking to load the bases ended Nola's night. But all three runner came around to score, the first two on another Encarnacion single. The last one scored when Tyler Goeddel lost a routine fly ball that fell in, in what was the first of some really bad defensive misplays for the Phillies.
With the score 8-0, the game was effectively decided, as the game graph indicates.
For a couple innings it looked like both sides were content just to play out the string, but the Blue Jays bats weren't quite done. Kevin Pillar absolutely destroyed a ball to left field leading off the 7th for the third home run of the night. Not to be outdone, Devon Travis did the same leading off the 8th. A couple batters later, with a runner on first and 1 out, the Phillies had another defesnive blooper:
It didn't end up mattering, since Russell Martin followed up with a double. And then Pillar went yard again, his 7th home run of the year and 4th in the last week. He now has many home runs as walks on the year, and the way he's hitting I'd bet on him getting to eight home runs before eight walks. His extreme streakiness at the plate is reminiscent of J.P. Arencibia, who similarly used to slump for 2-3 weeks and then just explode for 7-10 days.
Gavin Floyd came in for the 8th, replacing Happ as just 89 pitches, and gave up the second run on a pair of hard hits balls leading off. He settled down to get the last three, and Joe Biagini worked a very quick clean 9th inning to close out the win.
Jays of the Day: By WPA, Encarnacion (+0.222, 2/4, HR, BB) and Happ (+0.145) were the only ones. Donaldson definitely gets one for reaching bases all five times up (3/3, 2 BB), as does Pillar for the two bombs as part of a 3/5 night. Russell Martin and Michael Saunders could deserve them too, but we'll just give a hat tip. Really the entire lineup could have one tonight.
Suckage: None. Barney had the low number at -0.040 due to that "double play", but he was 2/5. Bautista otherwise had the only negative number at -0.027 on the back of a 1/4 with 2K. I think this is the 5th straight recap I've written with no suckage, so that's always good.
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays return to Baltimore for a weekend series, with Aaron Sanchez taking the mound against Mike Wright starting at 7:05 eastern.