A nice relaxing Sunday afternoon win for the Blue Jays.
Happ was a little rocky in the early going, allowing three straight singles with one out in the top of the 1st to put the Jays in an early 1-0 hole. He limited the damage to that, and then the Jays punched back in a big way off Chad Kuhl.
They started with what's recently becoming a pleasantly familiar combination, a walk from Jose Bautista followed by a long ball from Josh Donaldson. And it was an absolute blast, measured by Statcast as 111 MPH off the bat and travelling an estimated 452 feet to put the Jays up 2-1.
And they were just just getting warmed up. Justin Smoak followed up by lining a hard double, and an out later Ezequiel Carrera (starting on the Zekend) walked to bring up #6 hitter Ryan Goins (chew over that for a second). He did what he does with runners on base this year, and hit a double of his own to drive both runners in. After Kevin Pillar reached on an error, Goins and Pillar pulled off a delayed double steal to perfection, to give the Jays a 5-1 lead.
After that, Happ basically put things in cruise control. Over the next four innings, he allowed just two baserunners (a walk and single) while striking out 6 batters. With two out in the 6th inning he ran into a little trouble, issuing back-to-back walks, but ended the outing with a swinging strikeout. Overall, it was a solid start, 6 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks against 8 strikeouts.
Offensively, the Jays didn't do a whole lot either after that, but then they didn't need to. Darwin Barney hit a hanging offspeed pitch over the fence for his first home run since June 21st, a solo shot with 2 out in the 6th to push the lead to 6-1. Justin Smoak did the same in the 7th (well, except the fpart about it being his first HR in 50 days) to make it 7-1.
The bullpen carried the game home the rest of the way, Danny Barnes pitched a clean and efficient 8th. Leonel Campos came in for the 8th, got into a bit of jam with two on and one out, so of course up six runs John Gibbons
let him work through it went right to Ryan Tepera because he apparently wants to make his fellow Texan's arm fall off who quickly snuffed it out.
Then we got the moment we were all waiting for, the rare sighting of J.P. Howell. And he was actually...pretty good? He retired the side in order on three ground balls. Maybe he could pitch again before the next Blue Moon and maybe build a little value?
Blue Jays win!
Jays of the Day: Donaldson (+0.176 WPA), Goins (+0.179, but some of that belongs to Pillar's steal), Happ (+0.125). Smoak (+0.041) gets one two for the double and HR.
Tomorrow, everyone's favourite opponent Tampa Bay is in town (which I suppose beats going down to that awful, cursed "stadium") to open up a four game set at 7:05 EDT. Should a real barnburner too, with Nick Tepesch opposing Jake Odorizzi.