Cleveland 6 Blue Jays 9 (in the normal 9 innings)
On a day when Rajai Davis was a one man wrecking crew, hitting for the cycle in reverse order, the Blue Jays overcame twice giving the lead to pull out a win with three runs in the bottom of the 8th while ending Cleveland's 14 game winning streak. Why is it what it seems like all ex-Blue Jays turn into Blue Jay killers whenever they leave?
Marco Estrada turned in a solid start, 3 runs over 5 innings, though at several points he looked to be in pain and his velocity was definitely down over the last half of his outing. He gave up a leadoff home run to Davis, and then struck out the side. Davis was responsible for the next run as well, with a one out triple to drive home Tyler Naquin's leadoff single. The last run came courtesy of Carlos Santana, who caught up to an 0-2 fastball well above the zone and hammered it for a solo home run.
In the circumstances, it was about all one could ask from Estrada, though his MLB record streak of going 6 innings with 5 of less hits came to an end. He threw 96 pitches over those 5 innings, giving up 5 hits while striking out 7 and giving up no free passes. Unfortunately, though he left in line for the win, he wouldn't get the win.
The bats did not take long to respond to the David home run. Facing reliever Zach McAllister, Ezequiel Carrera was hit by a pitch leading off and Josh Donaldson walked with one out. That brought up Edwin Encarnacion, who demolished a 1-1 fastball for a three run homer and the Jays were up 3-1. It would have been really nice to have that in the lineup for the last 18 innings yesterday.
The Jays managed a baserunner in each of the next three without seriously threatening, and it looked like they'd go down quietly in the 5th with Shawn Morimondo finding his groove in his major league debut. But with two out, Russell Martin tapped a grounder to third, Santana couldn't dig out the throw allowing Martin to reach with a generous "single". That brought Troy Tulowitzki up, and he took full advantage of the miscue to drive a 3-1 offspeed pitch on a low line out of the park - it was almost tulo to go - to put his fellow Dirtbag in line for the win.
With Estrada done, Joe Biagini came in from the pen. He struck out Jason Kipnis on a curveball in the dirt that bounced away, allow him to reach. The batters alternated between strikeouts and reaching (K, 1B, K, BB, K) to bring up Juan Uribe. Biagini had him 1-2, but couldn't finish off the four strikeout inning, hitting Uribe with a full count pitch to make it 5-4. Aaron Loup came in and got the lefty Naquin, exactly as a LOOGY should.
Drew Hutchison came on the for 7th, and unfortunately was not effective in an unfamiliar role out of the pen. Davis doubled around loud flinouts, and Jose Ramirez fought off a ton of two strike pitches, working the count full and then hitting a weak ground ball that found its way up the middle and tied the game. Napoli followed that with a double and the Jays were behind 6-5.
That deficit lasted about as long as the first deficit did, since Josh Donaldson led off the first pitch of 7th with his 20th home run to tie things up. The Jays put two on with two out, but couldn't drive home the winning run. Jason Grilli replaced Hutchison, which left the Jays dangerously exposed with just him, Osuna, and maybe Cecil left. But he was excellent again, two strikeouts to keep it tied.
And the bats came through. Carrera walked with one out, followed by a Travis single, to bring that Donaldson guy back up. He delivered a single to centre, and Windmill Rivera of course sent Carrera. He was called out at home on a swipe tag, but immediately jumped up protesting that he wasn't tagged. Three years ago, he would have been protesting in vain, Shatkins out of Luck. But it's 2016, and a lengthy review determined that he hadn't been tagged, putting the Jays ahead 7-6. Encarnacion struck out, but Michael Saunders came through with a double to cash the two runners and give the Jays some much needed breathing room.
Roberto Osuna, working the five time in five days, had a relatively easy 9th, working around the Davis single that completed the cycle, to pick up the save.
Super Jay of the Day: Donaldson (+0.397 WPA, 2/4, HR, BB)
Jays of the Day: Tulowitzki (+0.231, 1/4, HR), Saunders (+0.167, 3/4, BB), Encarnacion (+0.142, 2/5. HR), Loup (+0.120), Grilli (+0.106)
Suckage: Hutchison (-0.338). Biagini has the number as well (-0.161), but I'm not giving him one since he would have been out of the inning without the reach on strikeout.
Tomorrow, the Blue Jays will look to somehow split the series as J.A. Happ goes up against Corey Kluber with a third straight 1:07 eastern start time.