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Flirting with a No-No, Marco Estrada leads Jays to 3-2 Win!

7 innings of 1-hit ball from Marco Estrada was enough to give the Jays a 3-2 win on Monday night.

Toronto Blue Jays v Seattle Mariners
Marco Estrada was fantastic on Monday night limiting the Mariners to 1-hit in his 7 innings of work in a Jays win.
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The term "must win" is one that is overused in the sports world, but entering Game 1 of their 3-game set in Seattle against the Mariners (79-70), this surely is as close to a "must win" series as the Toronto Blue Jays (81-68) have seen this season.

Sitting 4.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox, 0.5 back of the Baltimore Orioles for the 1st Wild Card spot, and just two games up on Seattle and the Detroit Tigers, the Blue Jays desperately needed to break free of the funk that has seen them go 5-11 thus far in the month of September.

(BOXSCORE for Mobile)

The pitching matchup: Marco Estrada (8-9 with a 3.78 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (6-10 with a 4.28 ERA).

And, the game started much the same way last night's did. The Blue Jays managed to get two runners on, but stranded them both.

The Jays opened up the scoring in the 3rd. After Pillar reached on an infield single Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate and took Walker deep and over the wall in left for his 41st HR of the season to give the Jays the lead.

2-0 Jays

Troy Tulowitzki missed adding the Jays third run by less than a foot as he drove a ball off the wall in centre, but a sac-bunt by Ezequiel Carrera moved the Jays shortstop to third for Melvin Upton Jr.... Who struck out. But, Kevin Pillar was next in line and he muscled a ball to right for a single to score the runner from 3rd and extend the lead.

3-0 Jays

The Jays threatened again in the 6th after walks to Russell Martin and Carrera forced Walker from the game and the Mariners brought in Drew Storen on in relief... Upton struck out (again) bringing up Pillar who, this time, was unable to score the runners.

In the 7th, Devon Travis extended his hit streak to 16-games. Then minutes later, Josh Donaldson was thrown out by Home Plate Umpire Chris Conroy for arguing balls and strikes. The call was a bad one, JD was livid, and the ump tossed him. I'm never shy about calling Ump Show or criticising the umps. This was not that. JD had his chance to complain earlier in the at bat, went a bit too far on the final strike and that was that.

Not a great look from a leader of the team to get tossed in the middle of a close game where your team desperately needs a win while your pitcher is... well, we'll get to that.

The Jays would strand two runners that inning, for what it's worth.

Estrada, on the other hand, looked like the Estrada of the first half taking a no-hitter into the 7th before Robinson Cano managed to get a piece of a curve and sent it back up the middle for a base hit to end the no-no. No-hitter or not, it was great to see Estrada look great again.

The Mariners actually got two runners on but Estrada managed to wiggle out of trouble and get out of the inning without damage. He'd last only one more batter in the 8th, walking Leonis Martin to start the inning, and Gibby came out of the dugout to take his starter out.

His final line: 7 IP, 0 ER on 1 H, 8 K's and 3 BB.

Jason Grilli came on in relief. After walking Ben Gamel, Grilli would get Marte to strike out swinging and Nori Aoki to fly out to right field bringing up Seth Smith. Unfortunately, Grilli walked him on a full count bringing up Cano with the bases loaded. Gibby countered with Roberto Osuna. After a tense at bat, full of close calls and foul balls, Osuna finally got Cano to fly out (albeit to deep right field) to end the inning.

Osuna allowed an Adam Lind 2-out single in the 9th extending the game to allow Leonys Martin to get an AB and he'd take the Jays closer deep and over the wall in CF to make it a 1-run game. But, Osuna struck out Gamel to end the ball game and give the Jays a much needed victory.

Toronto Blue Jays 3 - 2 Seattle Mariners

Jays of the Day

Marco Estrada (.291) was fantastic. Encarnacion (.212) went 2-5 with 2 RBI and a HR. Kevin Pillar (.136) was 3-4, and a TOOTBLAN aside, he was very good. Stole 2 bases, too. Osuna had the number but the 2-run HR makes me not give it to him.

Catch Game 2 of the series Tuesday night. 10:10pm start time. J.A Happ (19-4 3.27 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (16-11 3.87 ERA).

Source: FanGraphs