It was a night and morning for weird baseball, a 4 hour game after a rain delay lasting almost as long as a normal game, and so the Blue Jays did the weirdest thing of all: they got a win at Coors Field, the first in franchise history. It took 20 years of interleague play, but the road team finally won a meeting between these two teams. As the line goes, 17th time the charm.
It didn't look promising at the outset. J.A. Happ gave up back-to-back cheap singles, the first of which ended up scoring on a legitimate hard single from Carlos Gonzalez. Happ bore down to limit the damage, but it took him 30 pitches.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays were hitless through two against Eddie Butler, just a walk from Edwin Encarnacion. Kevin Pillar fixed that by leading off the 3rd with a single, and sacrificed to second. After a walk to Ezequiel Carrera, Devon Travis singled him home to tie the game 1-1. Encarnacion walked again to load the bases, but while Mich Saunders tagged a ball to centrefield, it didn't have quite enough to carry out and ended up a loud third out.
Happ quickly remedied the new found parity by walking the leadoff hitter, and then a Nolan Arenado double smashed into left field. The coup de grace was delivered by Carlos Gonzalez, who turned on an 0-2 slider and for the second straight night smashed a 3-run no doubter to right field to give the Rockies a 4-1 lead. Happ got the next three in order, but the damage was done.
Through three innings in a game that started at 11:20 eastern, the two pitchers had managed to throw 65 and 67 pitches respectively. Because of course, but it turned out the craziness was just getting starting.
Troy Tulowitzki led off the 4th with a solo bomb. Russell Martin singled, and Pillar fouled a ball off his leg that left one heck of a bruise but the indestructible Pillar stayed in and struck out. Happ tried to sacrifice, but Butler tried to get Martin at second and threw the ball in centre ("it was his best sinker of the night" said Tabler with a rare witticism). Carrera singled him home to make it 4-3, and Butler's night was done.
But the Jays bats weren't, as Travis singled to load the bases. Donaldson hammered a fly ball off the right field wall, which hit at a weird angle and bounced almost all the way back to the infield before it was corralled. Donaldson ended up at 3rd, and the Jays had a 6-4 lead. With just one out, Encarnacion was intentionally walked to set up the double play. And it almost worked, except Saunders' comebacker wasn't handled, and the Jays took a 7-5 lead.
Of course, Happ couldn't come back with a clean inning, yielding a leadoff double bunted over to 3rd by the pitcher and which scored on a ground out. Happ did manage a scoreless 5th, albeit with two more hits, which was the end of his night at 103 pitches. His line: 5 earned runs on 9 hits, a walk and 3 strikeouts, in line for the win.
The bats continued to pile up the runs, scoring in each of the remaining five innings (last seven overall):
- One run in the 5th; Carrera doubled home Pilla
- Three runs in the 6th; Encarnacion walk, Saunders single; Martin RBI single; Pillar 2 RBI double; Junior Lake single on which Pillar ran through Windmill Rivera's stop sign (told you it was a weird game) and was DOA at the plate (which was almost merciful at this point)
- One run in the 7th; Carrera and Travis walked leading off, Donaldson single, Saunders sac fly
- One run in the 8th; Martin, Pillar and Travis all with singles, the latter of the RBI variety
- One run in the 9th, this is where farcical is truly an inadequate description; Encarnacion reached on an infield single that could have been an error, Saunders singled and it was misplayed advance EE, who scored on another botched grounder.
And it's a good thing they tacked on those runs, since things almost fell apart again in the 7th. After a quick 6th, Joe Biagini allowed a double and single to score a run, before settling down to get a trio of groundouts to end the inning....except Encarnacion literally dropped the ball on the last one, which scored a run to make it 12-7 and prolonged the inning. Biagini's night was over after another single.
Jason Grilli came in, walked a batter to load the bases, then gave up a single to score to more and make it 12-9. He ended the inning with a strikeout, got another pair in 8th before Gibbons turned to Osuna (by this point, 13-9, a non save situation). He got the last four outs in order and the game was mercifully over at 3:13 AM eastern.
Jays of the Day: Donaldson (+0.184 WPA, 2/5, BB), Travis (+0.165, 3/5, BB), Carrera (+0.138, 2/4, 2 BB), Martin (+0.1373/4, BB). Pillar (+0.052, 3/5) gets one too, especially for toughing it and staying in. I was going to do the same with Encarnacion for his four walks but then he dropped that ball so to hell with that.
Suckage: Happ (-0.171) gets the rare suckage win.
Later today is the finale of this series with a short turnaround to the 3:10 eastern afternoon game turned into a very short turnaround of 12 hours by the rain delay and endless game. Aaron Sanchez will take on LHP Tyler Anderson as the Jays look to take the series.
TL;DR: 4 hour game + 2 hour 40 minute delay + 1 hour 30 minutes later start than usual = one hell of a crazy game