The Blue Jays, sporting the throwback white panel hats instead of those terrible red uniforms, collected 16 hits in Sunday afternoon’s win.
The game started off bearing strong similarities to the Jays’ last successful outing against Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez. In Comerica Park, he allowed 5 runs on 9 hits. The Jays really worked him in the first inning of this game, too.
We scored the first run on a great hit and run play. Lead off guy Richard Ureña singled, and after getting Jose Bautista and Justin Smoak out, their Sanchez gave up a single to Kendrys Morales. “Windmill Rivera” waved Ureña home (as he does), but speed allowed Ureña to actually score all the way from first. The interesting thing about this play was that once Ureña got a head start, Morales’ single went right through the gap the shortstop left when he moved over to cover second base. Pillar would then single for his fifth hit in his fifth consecutive at bat, and Goins would walk on 4 pitches to load the bases for Teoscar Hernandez. Teoscar ended up striking out to end the inning, but that’s okay, because he would more than make up for it later.
JA Happ successfully kept the Tigers off the board for the first 4 innings. Happ allowed two base runners in the 1st, but struck out the side. He only allowed one flare single in the 2nd, and retired the side in order in the 3rd, tallying up six strikeouts in those 3 innings.
Their Sanchez seemed to settle in after the 1st. Barney had a lead-off single but was caught stealing in the 2nd in what appeared to be a miscommunicated hit and run. Our middle of the order also went down quietly in the 3rd.
Happ got into a bit of trouble in the top of the 4th. Nicholas (not Nick) Castellanos singled, but was replaced with John Hicks on a very nice force out play by Justin Smoak. After a 4 pitch walk to James McCann put two on, a JaCoby Jones strikeout and an Andrew Romine groundout ended the threat.
The bottom of the 4th was very fun for the Jays.
Pillar hit a very nice liner down the third base line (but right into a glove), and Goins singled to bring up Teoscar Hernandez with 1 on and 1 out. Hernadez launched a 2-2 fastball just over the wall in dead center for 2-run homer, and his first home run as a Blue Jay. Barney doubled, but their Sanchez got Maile and Ureña out to end the inning.
The top of the 5th was less fun. Dixon Machado reached on what would turn out to be a costly routine ground ball error by Ureña, as Ian Kinsler sent the next JA Happ offering into the Jays’ bullpen for a 2 run homer (and ironically, his first non-solo shot of the season). A fellow by the name of Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera both grounded out, but Nicholas Castellanos got a free pass to first. However, Nicholas Castellanos got caught stealing second on a beautiful throw by Luke Maile. Let’s reiterate: a base runner for the opposing team was thrown out on a beautiful toss by a Jays’ catcher. Miracles.
The bottom of the 5th was a pure party. Jose Bautista singled, advanced to third on a Morales single hit over the shift, and was driven home on a 0-2 Pillar single. Baseballs must be looking like beach balls to Kevin lately, as he is 6 for his last 7. Hernandez came up in a 2 on, 2 out scenario and took their blister-free Sanchez deep again for a beautiful opposite field 3-run homer. Barney’s 3rd hit of the night forced a pitching change to Jeff Ferrell for Luke Maile(?). We chuckled, but Maile just missed hitting a homer himself by inches, and settled for a double. Ureña grounded out to end the inning.
Happ, now carrying a solid lead, aggressively retired the next three Tigers in order (with two strikeouts) to start the 6th.
A lead off single by Bautista was stranded in the bottom of the 6th.
Luis Santos came in for the top of the 7th wielding strike after strike, and retired his three batters in order.
The dynamic duo of Hernandez and Barney gave the Tigers trouble yet again in the bottom of the 7th, with back to back singles (their 3rd and 4th hits of the night). Hernandez would end up scoring the Jays eighth run of the game on a passed ball during Maile’s at bat.
Santos pitched again in the 8th. He allowed a Candelario (seriously with this name) lead-off double that advanced to third on a passed ball by Luke Maile, but nothing else.
Ex-Blue Jay Daniel Norris pitched a quick bottom of the 8th for the Tigers.
Santos came back out for the 9th and faced only three batters, securing a rare 3 inning save (and his first major league save).
Jays of the Day: Hernandez (.253), Morales (.149), and Happ (.116). Barney should get one too for going 4 for 4.
Suckage: Smoak had the low mark (-0.78) but he had a couple deep fly outs that were hit at outfielders.
Next up, the Orioles will roll into town for our final series of the season with them. We get a shot at redemption against
The Great Ubaldo Jiminez in his first start since August 30th. Marco Estrada will start for the Jays. The team expects to have Josh Donaldson back in the line-up tomorrow as well.
(Thanks to vinnievanloewen for the Nicholas article)