For seven innings, this game looked to be headed to a spectacularly frustrating conclusion. Then the sun broke through the clouds and the floodgates opened (pardon the mixing of metaphors).
Marcus Stroman spun a gem, going the distance on 99 pitches while allowing 2 runs (one earned) on 7 hits, 1 walk (and a HBP) and 5 strikeouts. If we're picking nits, he was a little up and down in the first couple innings, giving up some hard contact leading to multiple runners and working out of jams (with the help of some great defensive plays).
He gave up his first run in controversial fashion in the 3rd inning. With two out, none on, and a 3-1 count to Kole Calhoun, Stroman was called for a quick pitch by rookie umpire Ramon de Jesus. Not only was it a very close call, since Calhoun appeared set, but to some extent it appeared to be a "cover your butt" call since he called time as Stroman was already delivering the pitch.
John Gibbons got ejected, and Stroman was quite upset but didn't regain his composure, giving up hard contact to Mike Trout for a single and then a RBI bouncer that snuck through by Albert Pujols.
After that, he was simply stellar. From that point onwards through the 9th inning, he set down 17 straight batters. It was a dominating, efficient performance. He had another run-in with de Jesus when he once again called time as Stroman was releasing or had released a pitch. But Stroman rebounded for a strikeout anyway.
Meanwhile, offensively the Blue Jays did absolutely nothing for the first seven innings against a player with an ERA above 6.00 in AAA the last two years. Really, worse than nothing since a few of times they did realize to reach base they subsequently shot themselves in the foot. Jose Bautista singled in the first with one on, but was thrown out trying to take second. Kevin Pillar walked in the 3rd and was picked off/caught stealing. Ezequiel Carrera walked to lead off the 4th and was picked off. Justin Smoak was the only other batter to reach (a single) and not be TOOTBLANed.
It wasn't looking good. The Angels brought in Deolis Guerra, who promptly walked Russell Martin on four pitches leading off the 8th. So what do you against a reliever who hasn't thrown put a ball in the zone? You bunt apparently, and it worked out fantastically...for the Angels. Chris Couglan popped up the bunt and another inning appeared headed south with a stone cold Devon Travis coming up.
So he did exactly what you'd expect. He hammered a 1-1 hanging cutter over the wall in left-centre, to give the Jays a 2-1 lead. One out later, Kevin Pillar did the same on a 2-0 pitch. Carrera hammered a triple into the corner, and scored on a botched ball by
Clarence Cliff Pennington and it was 4-1 Jays.
One noteworthy thing happened in the bottom of the eighth. Kevin Pillar, having already walked and homered, completed the Kevin Pillar hat trick (a walk, a home run, and a hit stolen in CF) by robbing Kole Calhoun of extra bases on a liner to right centre field. This is his second career, and first since June 7, 2016.
For good measure, Ryan Goins added a two run home run in the 9th. Which was nice since it gave Stroman plenty of breathing room when he gave up a couple hits sandwiched around a hit by pitch and Bautista mishandled the second to allow a run to score.
Blue Jays win!
Jays of the Day: Stroman (+0.237 WPA) andTravis (+0.425). Pillar (+0.075) falls a little short of the number, but certainly merits one. As does Ryan Goins (-0.043) for the two run bomb and fantastic defensive play.
Suckage: Bautista (-0.107, 1/3, BB, TOOTBLAN, error); Coghlan (-0.119, stupid bunt), home plate umpire Ramon de Jesus
Can the Jays take the series tomorrow? Find out tomorrow at 10:05 EDT (ed. note: ugh) when Francisco Liriano takes on Jesse Chavez and hopefully the game doesn't go until quarter to four in the morning.