After collapsing in the first game of that day/night doubleheader, John Gibbons sent out a glorified AAA lineup, with Chris Coghlan batting second, Ezequel Carrera third and Jarrod Saltalamacchia fifth (he of the 0.045 batting average and 64% strikeout rate coming in). And it went about as expected, with the Jays completing their dismal day dropping a deceptively close 6-4 game to fall to 6-16, 10 games under .500 just 22 games into the 2017 season.
Casey Lawrence did not have a very good start, giving up 6 runs on 10 hits over 5 innings, with 3 free passes and just one strikeout. On top of that, he wasn't well served defensively either, as a booted grounder in the 1st inning contributed to a three run first inning that put the Jays in an early hole. Lawrence gave up plenty of hard contact, but conceivably could have got out with only one or two runs across. Especially since there was a missed for a replay on a steal of third, ruled safe but pretty clearly out. For whatever reason, John Gibbons didn't ask, and the next batter belted a double.
From there, it was drip-drip-drip as the Cardinals pushed across a run in each of the next three innings to push their lead to a comfortable 6-0 on (respectively) a Dexter Fowler home run; RBI single after a walk and steal; and a fielder's choice with the bases loaded and one out.
The Jays did have opportunities to score, with runner on in each of the first three innings. The best opportunity was in the 2nd, when they loaded the bases with one out. But of course, this being the NL and this being the 2017 Jays' luck, the next batter up was Casey Lawrence. He bounced into a force at home and was almost doubled up. Pillar flied out an d the opportunity was squandered.
The Jays finally broke through in the 5th. Darwin Barney lead off with a double, Lawrence got the bunt down to advance him and he scored on a Kevin Pillar infield single. Couglan doubled but Pillar couldn't score, and Carrera couldn't get the runner in from 3rd with less than two out. Fortunately, Kendrys Morales picked up him up with a 3 run home run and the Jays were shockingly right back in it.
Alas, it was as close they they'd come. Given how hard he was being hit, I thought the Jays had to go the bullpen to give them the best chance of staying in the game notwithstanding the bullpen being depleted in game 1. But Gibbons sent Lawrence back out, and he worked around a leadoff double to put up his first and only 0 on the scoreboard.
Aaron Loup came out for the 6th and alternated walks and outs but stranded the bases loaded. His second inning went a lot better, with 3 up and 3 down. Danny Barnes likewise got into a mess in the 8th with 2nd/3rd and none out, but wriggled out. Unfortunately the Cardinal bullpen was even better, facing one over the minimum over the same innings. For good measure, Trevor Rosenthal totally blew the Jays away in the 9th with 99 to 102 MPH fastballs.
Behold, in all its glory:
Jays of the Day: None by the numbers. On a different day, perhaps Morales (for the 3 run bomb) or Couglan or Barney (both 2/3 with a double). But not this day.
Suckage: Lawrence (-.288 and another -0.88 batting), Pillar (-0.127) and Goins (-0.114, 0/4, 2k). With another hanfdul who just fell short.
The Jays return to Rogers Centre to take on the Rays...oh joy. Marcus Stroman will take on Blake Snell, so it should at least be a compelling pitching matchup for those of us masochists who keep coming back for more.