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Jays fighting back from rock bottom with win over Angels

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After dropping two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Jays opened their series versus the Angels with a 7-2 victory.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight was the chance to end the bleeding. To end the narrative of hell on earth. To bounce hard off "rock bottom" sky-high towards the top of the standings. Whatever you want to call it; tonight was the chance to end the madness playing the Los Angeles Angels who went into Thursday's action with a 63-82 record.

For a while, it seemed like the Jays were going to let that chance get away from them. With a Josh Donaldson walk and Jose Bautista both being stranded by separate double plays in the first two innings, Thursday night looked like any other night in September 2016 with the Jays offence nowhere to be found.

It remained that way until the second time through the order. Whether you want to believe in that phenomena or not, the Jays offence woke up in the 4th inning, led by a Donaldson lead-off double that was followed by singles from Edwin Encarnacion and Bautista, once again, capped off with a Russell Martin sacrifice fly. By inning's end, the Jays had taken a 2-0 lead.

Getting the ball was J.A Happ, looking to come back from a 5.27 ERA over his last five starts. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, that struggling pitcher didn't get on the plane when they boarded Wednesday afternoon. Instead, the dominant pitcher of the first half stepped off at LAX and was brilliant in California. Commanding his fastball effectively and pitching to contact when he needed to, Happ gave even the most struggling of offences a chance to win Thursday's game.

Happ's only mistake on the night came in his final inning when he allowed a two-run Andrelton Simmons home run to end his night. Given the home run though, his line still manifested an impressive six plus innings pitched, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out and walking three each.

Even with Happ's excellent performance, it was comforting to see the Jays offence wake up and do some of the things that have made it infamous over the last year. With a 2-0 lead already, Martin stroked his 19th long-fly of the season over the left-field fence with two runners on to take a 5-0 lead.

Coming on in relief of Happ was Joaquin Benoit, the Jays' 7th inning man, who stopped the bleeding for the Jays in his inning of work. Despite allowing two singles in his inning of work, Jason Grilli continued to follow script before handing the ball off to Roberto Osuna who sealed the 7-2 victory with a clean 9th inning.

Jays of the day:

Josh Donaldson- 3-for-3 with two doubles a single and two walks. (WPA 0.143). After missing the entirety of the series against the Rays, the return of Josh Donaldson may offer even more solace than the victory.

Jose Bautista- 2-for-4 with a walk. (WPA 0.105). Like Donaldson, it's simply a great thing to see when Jose Bautista can find his offensive prowess and prey on opposing pitchers. It wasn't with home runs tonight, but the timing is there enough to know that more is in store.

J.A Happ (WPA 0.206). You really can't argue with this start from Happ. The Jays needed someone to step up, stop the bleeding and give the Jays a prime opportunity to win. Happ did just that.

Oh and he did this. JA Happ with your defensive play of the night #BlueJays


Devon Travis-1-for-5. (WPA -0.043). The swing looked long and faulty tonight. It was quite clear the Angels were pitching Travis away and instead of going with the pitch, Travis was left waving at it simply hoping for the best.

Michael Saunders-  0-for-3. (WPA -0.041). Not the worst night you can have while adding a walk, but certainly not the first-half Michael Saunders all of Blue Jays nation is hoping shows up at some point over the next two weeks.