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Bullpen Meltdown: Marco Estrada's vintage start goes for naught in 7-6 walkoff loss

The game was marred by a horrible knee-to-head collision between Yoan Moncada and Willy Garcia

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 6 White Sox 7

There might be a few teams regretting that they didn't make a play for Marco Estrada at the deadline.

The Blue Jays didn't receive a tempting enough offer to induce them to trade the impending free agent by today's non-waiver deadline, and Estrada responded with one of his best outings of the past several months. But the Jays couldn't make a 6-0 lead going to the bottom of the 7th stick, and instead the White Sox got their 6th win in the month of July. In all fairness, the Jays got something important too, being one game closer to the end of season.

Estrada was particularly dominant over the first four innings, allowing just two baserunners on a walk and an error he committed. His changeup looked great, and he got a lot of bad swings on it. The first hit didn't come until there was one out in the 5th inning, when he gave up back-to-back singles. He worked out of the jam, and then a clean 6th inning.

He finally got touched in the 7th, again with back-to-back singles. The first was an infield single, with Ryan Goins almost getting the runner on an incredible play to get a ball deep in the hole and make a tough throw on the money. Estrada then gave up thee fly balls, the first of which advanced the lead runner, the second of which scored him and the third of which ended the inning and Estrada's night. All told, he went 7 innings, allowed 4 hits and a walk against 5 strikeouts, exiting with a 5-1 lead.

The Jays built that lead against James Shields, another "beleaguered" starting pitcher, at first via the long ball. Josh Donaldson got it started in the 1st, and then Russell Martin and Justin Smoak joined the party in the 3rd. It would've been nice to have a few runners on, but that apparently was to come afterwards as the Jays loaded the bases immediately following Smoak's 30th, and then stranded them. Still, they had a healthy 3-0 lead.

That was doubled to 6-0 in the 5th in the most unfortunate of circumstances. With two out and the bases loaded, Darwin Barney hit a little flare into shallow right field. Willy Garcia came in and slid for it, Yoan Moncada came out and lept at it, and his knee slammed square into the side of Garcia's head. The ball came loose, the bases cleared and Barney reached second as both players fell to the ground. It was horrible to watch, and both left the game.

So, the meltdown. Do I really have to? (Tom says yes). Joe Biagini came in for the 8th, walked the first batter before a double and a home run made it 6-4. Ryan Tepera came in and the first batter hit a home run. I stepped away for like three minutes at 6-2 only to come back and see it 6-5. Lovely.

Nonetheless, they got the ball to Osuna with a lead, and usually that's enough. As on Saturday, Osuna easily dispatched the first batter, before giving up an infield single. Leury Garcia was then awarded first on a phantom hit-by-pitch to put the winning run aboard. Osuna responded with a strikeout, and the Jays were one out away. Successive RBI singles meant the elusive 27th out was not to be. The Jays led for approximately 2:55 of this 3:00 game and never trailed until the final run touched home. That and a toonie will get you coffee (I'm guessing, I don't actually drink coffee. Or booze, which might have helped with this one).

To add insult to injury, this meltdown ruined what otherwise would have been a sweep across the organization. Buffalo, New Hampshire and Vancouver were off; but Dunedin, Lansing, Bluefield and even the complex league GCL and DSL Jays all were victorious.

Jays of the Day: Marco Estrada (+0.290 WPA). Honourable mention to Martin (+0.080), Donaldson (+0.078) and Smoak (+0.065), all of whom hit home runs to stake the Jays to a solid lead but fell a little short of the usual level.

Super Suckage (awarded for the third straight game): Osuna (-0.796)

Suckage: Biagini (-0.100)

Tomorrow, Marcus Stroman takes on Mike Pelfrey, same time, same place as the calendar flips to August.