This game neither start nor ended particularly well for the Blue Jays, but they did just enough in between to record their 65th win of the season. One day after the Jays fell just short with a late inning rally, they turned the tables on the Tigers exactly pulling out a white knuckle 5-4 win.
Brett Anderson did not get off to a good start, as Miguel Cabrera took him deep for a two-run home run in the first inning. After that, with some heavy assists from the defenders behind him, he held Detroit off the scorebaord for the rest of his outing and gave the chance to mount a comeback. He went 6 innings, 2 runs on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts and no free passes. A nice start, despite too many hard hit balls that fortuitously found gloves.
That being said, Superman stole the show. One those hard hit balls was a fly out to end the 5th:
And that was only the have of it. With runners at the corners and 2 out in the 1st, Pillar got the Jays on the board with a single up the middle. He added a cheapie in 4th with a tapper off the pitcher's glove, but his third hit was the complete opposite: a solo home run leading off the 6th to put the Jays ahead for the first time, and as it turned out for good.
For good measure, Pillar added a single in the 7th to complete a 4-for-4 day. Sadly, he didn't get a walk to complete the Kevin Pillar Hat Trick, but such is life.
Some other points of interest:
- The Jays had Chad Bell in trouble all game, getting the lead off runner on base in each of the first six innings.
- The Jays scored their second run in between Pillar RBIs in the 4th. Pillar figured into it was his single that put two on with none out and Teoscar Hernandez bounced into a force out to advance Kendrys Morales to third base with one out. Darwin Barney struck out, and the Jays attempted a double steal. Hernandez drew the throw, Morales broke, and for whatever reason Detroit didn't come home and he scored. Teoscar was out, but you gladly make the tradeoff with Ryan Goins up
- Luke Maile was robbed in his first plate appearance, a liner to left caught on a dive. He got it back in the 6th, driving in the Jays fourth run with a ball off the end of the bat just hard enough to get past the shortstop. That alone would normally be a good day for him, but he added a double in the 8th, scoring on a Jose Bautista single to make it 5-2. Which proved to be very significant
- In between, the Jays ran themselves out of an inning, as Morales walked with one down followed by the last Pillar single. Teoscar then singled, and Windmill Rivera sent Morales home and one doesn't need much of an imagination to know what happened.
After Anderson left, Carlos Ramirez and Dominic Leone both worked perfect innings, on 9 and 11 pitches respectively. Either could have gone a second inning, and normally I'd say that should have happened. But I understand spreading out the workload in September. Curiously, Ryan Tepera came out for the 9th in an official save situation by 5-2. Who knows what exactly is going on, though ironically, this is the exact type of "save situation" you don't want to use your closer/best reliever.
Alas, it didn't go well for Tepera. A walk and a single brought the tying run to the plate. Nick Castellanos hammered a ball to the right-centre gap, and the tying run was at second with none out up 5-3. Tepera likely saved the game snaring a ground ball up the middle, freezing the runners and getting the out. The next hitter lined a single into left, if that ball had got up the middle the game would have been tied.
As it was the tying run was still at third with only one out. Tepera once again bore down and got a popup to second to hold the run with two out. He put Andrew Romine in a 1-2 hole, but struggled to finish him off as he fouled fastballs and ran the count full. Tepera came back with a slider at the top of the zone that fooled Romine, and just hooked into the the zone for a called strike three. If he hadn't have been froze by it, was a cookie that could have easily been hit 400 feet.
Jays of the Day: Pillar (+0.347 WPA), Anderson (+0.144). Hat tips to Ramirez, Leone, Urena and Maile.
Suckage: Teoscar has the number (-0.126) only because of Morales being DOA, so we'll give to Ole Windmill instead.
Tomorrow, the rubbermatch of the series will feature Anibal Sanchez and J.A. Happ at 1:05 eastern.