Marco Estrada, “Estradabien” appeared to be ACEstrada early on as he retired his first 7 batters in order with pinpoint control, instilling many pop-ups (which is a great sign for him). His first base runner was on a walk to Mitch Garver in the 3rd, but he retired both batters after that. Estradabien only needed 39 pitches to get through the first 3 innings.
Justin Smoak, “Moakey”, in true 2017 fashion, was the only Jay to reach in the first. The Jays would score their first run in the bottom of the second when Kendrys Morales “Mo Mo” went very, very deep (455 feet to be exact) for his 22nd home run of the year.
Raffy Lopez “Lopez” and Ezequiel Carrera “Zeke” started the bottom of the 3rd with back to back singles. Josh Donaldson, “Bringer of Rain”, laid down a beautiful bunt to load the bases with no outs for Smoak. Smoak struck out, but Jose Bautista, “Joey Bats”, brought in Lopez with a sac fly. Morales would pop out to keep the score 2-0 Jays. We have the bases loaded and no outs, with the middle of the line-up at bat, and we score...1 run. Moving on.
Estrada allowed a lead-off single in the 4th, but nothing else. The Jays also stranded a Rob Refsnyder, “Ref”, single in the 4th.
The Twins tied the game in the 5th. Kennys Vargas singled with one out, and Eduardo Escobar sent a two-out low fly (with a 10% hit probability) into their bullpen.
The Jays quickly took back the lead in the next inning. Zeke led off the 5th with an infield single, and the Bringer of Rain waited for the announcers to finish recommending he hit one out of the park before doing just that with a no doubter for his 23rd home run of the season. Donaldson has now hit more home runs in August (12) than he had coming into August (11).
After the Twins swapped Dillon Gee with Tyler Duffey, Smoak walked, again, and Joey Bats and Mo Mo both singled to load the bases once again with no outs. Kevin Pillar, “Superman” (because there are no trademark issues here), picked a great time for his only base hit of the night to drive in Smoak.
This would keep the bases loaded with no outs for the MLB lead in bases loaded hits (9/12) and our personal king of RISP, Ryan “Go Go” Goins. Go Go managed to hit a deep fly to the warning track to bring home Joey Bats and send Duffey to the showers. New pitcher Ryan Pressly got Refsnyder to ground out, but Raffy Lopez sent a ball down the middle to bring home the remaining two runners. Zeke, in his second appearance of the inning, walked but Donaldson grounded out to finally end the inning that lasted half an hour and gave the Jays 6 runs on 6 hits.
After sitting on the bench for approximately 30 minutes, Estrada got into a bit of trouble in the 6th. A run came in on a single, double, and then a sac fly, however he pulled a bit of Houdini magic to hold the Twins to the one run. The Jays went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.
Danny Barnes “Barnzy” came in for the 7th, and pitched a 1, 2, 3 inning. A Go Go single was stranded in the bottom of the 7th. I didn’t know Goins was allowed to get hits with the bases empty. With this hit, Go Go brought his hitting streak to 5 games.
The top of the 8th was not good. Tim Mayza was sent out, and he allowed a 1-out double and a 2-out single, and was replaced by Ryan Tepera. “Tep” hit Bryon Buxton to load the bases, and fed Max Kepler his second career grand slam to bring the Twins back within 1 run.
We got two insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th on a couple of Twins’ errors (which proved to be the game winners). Zeke walked to start the 8th, stole second, advanced to third on an airmail throw, and was brought home on a high JD fly that dropped right in the middle of 3 fielders in right. Josh moved to third on a Smoak ground out, and then scored on a John Curtiss wild pitch.
Roberto Osuna came in for the 9th, as he usually does in a save situation. The announcers were really driving home his “No Panic” nickname, and even said, “there is No Panic with Osuna this season”. I love Osuna...he is my favorite Blue Jay, however, panic has been finding me plenty during his recent outings. He does have the second most saves in the AL (now 34, behind Colome’s 38), but is also tied for the second most blown saves (8) in the majors. To be fair, all the blown saves weren’t entirely his fault...it just seems like very weird and unfathomable things have happened during his outings this year (just like tonight).
Osuna did save the game, but there was a fair amount of panic. He allowed a single, then a double on a rare error by Justin Smoak, then another single to bring in the first run. Joe Mauer GIDP’d, which scored the second run, but Jorge Polanco grounded out to end the game.
Jays of the Day: Donaldson (.281), Carrera (.134), Morales (.103). Every Jay had at least one hit except for Smoak (but he walked twice), and Lopez had his first career multi-hit game.
Suckage: Tepera (-.118), for the grand slam.
After being stretched out in Buffalo, Joe Biagini will take the mound tomorrow in his first start since July 2nd.
In his first seven starts for the Jays, Biagini did well. He held opponents to .208/.255/.299 with a 3.38 ERA. His next four starts were not as great - opponents batted .375/.427/.650 to give him a 10.38 ERA. Biagini will be pitching out of his windup this time, something he had the luxury of transitioning to in the minors. I am most looking forward to more Biagini post-start interviews as he auditions for a spot in the 2018 rotation.
The Twins will counter with Kyle Gibson, who will dawn a “Gibby” jersey. Let’s hope John Gibbons’ team can defend his name.
Also, this. Can this please be a thing?