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Blue Jays bats withstand cold, heat up in 9th to take series opener

Blue Jays 7, Orioles 1

Tornoto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

On a cold and drizzly Monday night in Baltimore, all three factors leading to an announced attendance of 7,915, the Blue Jays beat the Orioles in a pretty entertaining pitcher’s duel that turned into a blow out in the 9th.

J.A. Happ danced around trouble all night.

In the first inning, he allowed a leadoff single followed by a walk, before getting three strikeouts to strand the runners.

In the second inning, he allowed a leadoff error by First Baseman Josh Donaldson followed by a single, before getting three strikeouts to strand the runners.

In the third inning, he allowed a leadoff... oh. Home run to Manny Machado. After a popout and single, he got a double play to end the inning.

The fourth inning was nice and clean, 3 up 3 down.

The fifth inning was fun. Happ allowed a leadoff walk followed by a single, before getting a short fly out to Pearce in RF. Then he beaned the jersey of Jonathan Schoop (hopefully it’s OK, might have knocked a button off). With the bases loaded, Adam Jones chopped one back to Happ, who threw home like Dellin Betances. But unlike Gary Sanchez, Russell Martin was able to pick it and throw it towards First Baseman Josh Donaldson. But Jones was running inside the baseline and got hit by the ball, and was ruled out, because those are the rules.

The sixth inning started out with a strikeout of Chris Davis, who Bo Jackson’d his bat on his way back to the dugout. A groundout to first baseman Josh Donaldson, followed by Happ’s 3rd walk of the game, before getting his 9th strikeout to finish off 6 strong innings.

Danny Barnes picked up where Happ left off, allowing a couple baserunners but ultimately stranding them for a scoreless 7th inning.

Ryan Tepera pitched the 8th inning, starting the inning off with a diving stop of a Chris Davis bunt-like grounder. I like when someone with Davis’ power tries to drag a bunt in a 1 run game. Pinch hitter Pedro Alvarez hit a single over the shift. But a fielder’s choice and deep flyout got Tepera out of the inning.

With the score at 2-1 after 8 innings, Roberto Osuna started getting loose, ready to go for his 100th career save. But the Jays poured on the offense in the top of the 9th (see below), so the 100th save will have to wait for another night. John Axford came in and finished things up.

On offense, we had a chance to score in the 2nd. With Pearce on third and Morales at first, Martin chopped one back to the pitcher, who threw to third and got Pearce straying too far off the base. A Kevin Pillar walk (yes, it happened) loaded the bases with 1 out. But Devon Travis swung at 4 of the 7 pitches he saw that were out of the zone, ultimately striking out. Aledmys Diaz followed that by hitting a routine fly to RF to leave the bases loaded.

Steve Pearce hit a 2 out, 2 run home run in the 3rd inning, the 3rd straight game he has hit a home run. In his first at bat, Pearce ripped a single to LF for his 500th career hit as well. 498, 499 and 501 were home runs, but for the milestone he went with the single.

Other than that, the Jays didn’t muster a whole lot against Orioles starter Dylan Bundy. Justin Smoak ripped a single to RF as the only other hit off Bundy, as he struck out 10 Jays hitters over his 7 innings.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases again in the top of the 8th with none out, but Aledmys Diaz was thrown out at home trying to score on a shallow Smoak fly ball to LF and Pearce ended the inning with a deep fly out to RF.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases again in the top of the 9th with one out, but Aledmys Diaz popped out to the catcher. But Curtis Granderson redeemed the entire Jays’ offense with 2 outs by taking a bases loaded walk. Then First Baseman Josh Donaldson hit a home run and put the game out of reach. Smoak followed that with a single, then Randal Grichuk, who entered the game for defensive purposes, drove a double to CF to end his 0-26 slump. Solarte, who started the inning with a walk, ended it with a chopper to second.

First Baseman Josh Donaldson became First Baseman Josh Donaldson because starting first baseman Kendrys Morales left in the 2nd inning with a strained hamstring (tweet says left, but it was his right).

Solarte came in to pinch run, and as a surprise to many, took over at 3B while Donaldson shifted over to first base for the first time since 2012. His very first chance at 1B turned into an error. But otherwise he looked alright, making a couple plays on grounders, and stretching out to try and finish a double play. Tim Beckham was safe, and Donaldson didn’t strain his groin, so I guess that was a win.

Jays of the Day: Happ (.289), Tepera (.147), Barnes (.111), Granderson (.134) and Pearce (.113). I’ll also give one to First Baseman Josh Donaldson (.065) for the grand slam and the first basing.

Suckage Jays: Martin (-.163), Smoak (-.160) and Diaz (-.120)

It was a frustrating and tense game at times, but we made it through. We had 1165 comments in the gamethread, and MartsB lead us to victory (although he knew it was coming).

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1 MartsB 92
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