Blue Jays 10, D-Backs 4
The plan against Patrick Corbin today seemed pretty clear: Load the lineup with right-handed hitters, and be aggressive early in the count against the homer prone lefty. It paid off almost immediately as the Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead two batters into the game.
Darwin Barney (playing left field and batting lead off in today's righty filled lineup) opened things with a single, and then Josh Donaldson (the proverbial Bringer of Rain) found one of the only bodies of water in the Arizona desert when he launched a 2-0 pitch into the pool in right field. It was the seventh home run allowed by Corbin in his last five outings and the seventh home run hit by Donaldson in his last 16 games. While we should never expect a home run in any at bat, this was probably one the least surprising we've seen this season.
Things did not get much better for Corbin as the game progressed. Toronto scored another run in the second inning on a double by Devon Travis, an error from Jean Segura, and a sacrifice fly from Darwin Barney - And it would have been an even bigger inning if Junior Lake didn't get thrown out at third after hitting a leadoff double.
Troy Tulowitzki added the to run total in the fifth when he roped an RBI double into left and Kevin Pillar joined the hit parade with an RBI single later in the inning. The remaining runs were knocked in on a Donaldson double in the sixth (that missed being another home run by inches), a triple by Barney that scored two in the eighth, and Edwin Encarnacion's 26th home run of the season.
With Zack Greinke on the DL, Brad Ziegler traded to Boston, and Shelby Miller lost in the baseball wilderness, it's safe to say that the entire Arizona pitching staff is a hot mess at this point. The Blue Jays scored ten runs in this game, and it felt like it easily could have been more.
When the dust settled, five different Blue Jays had multi hit games (Josh Donaldson, Darwin Barney, Troy Tulowitzki, Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis) and every starter was on base at least once. The D-Back pitchers not only ruined their team's chances of winning when throwing the ball home, they also also did it when throwing to first as they made their third error in two games. This time it occurred in the eighth when Daniel Hudson botched a throw on Marcus Stroman's bunt. (You know a pitching staff had a rough day when the opposing pitcher's uniform is dirty from sliding safely into second base multiple times in one game.)
Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman also had a very encouraging start on the mound, working through eight strong innings and getting ground ball after ground ball. Twelve of the 14 balls put in play that resulted in outs off Stroman were hit on the ground, and while the D-Backs did manage eight hits, seven of those were also on the ground. In other words, Arizona wasn't squaring up anywhere near as many balls as the box score indicates. Oddly, Stroman's worst pitch of the day probably resulted in an out when he hung one to Yasmany Tomas in the second inning and got a long fly ball out. (It could have been a home run if Tomas didn't miss it)
Like Sanchez last night, Stroman allowed a run in the first inning and then nothing the rest of the way, and like we've seen the Blue Jay pitchers do many times this season, Stroman worked deep into the game, making it through eight wonderful innings.
The only real negative to today's game was Brett Cecil coming in during the ninth and allowing three runs. It didn't do much but make the game look closer than it was, but it was disappointing to see Cecil get roughed up since he's a guy who was so good last season and seems like one of the best internal candidates to make this bullpen better in the second half. After allowing a home run, Cecil was pulled and Joe Biagini had to finish this one off.
The win gives the Blue Jays a mini sweep and pushes them to a season high twelve games over .500. The victory also gets this group to within a game of first place (with the result of the Boston and Baltimore games tonight still unknown as I type this). Not only that, but Toronto is now home for the rest of the month after an off day on Thursday with series against the Mariners, Padres and Orioles.
Want more good news? Marco Estrada is set to come off the DL Friday and Jose Bautista could also be back in the lineup as soon as Monday. Things are looking good indeed as we head for the dog days of summer.
Jays of the Day: Marcus Stroman (.212) and Josh Donaldson (.154)
No suckage Jays.