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JA’s 100th Career Win Guarantees Gibbons a HAPPy Birthday

Strong defense and offense gives Jays their second consecutive win since May 1st

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays: 5 Orioles: 1

There was plenty of chatter about how a night like last night could be the spark to ignite a struggling team, and it sure looks like that’s exactly what happened. Let’s not question it.

Happ wasn’t looking particularly sharp to start. He was falling behind in counts, and couldn’t locate his pitches. He was primarily hitting the outside edges to right handed batters, whereas he normally lives on the inside edge.

The Orioles did score first in the 2nd, but the run was unearned. Happ walked Danny Valencia to lead off the inning, then got Jonathan Schoop out before issuing a second walk to Mark Trumbo. Trey Mancini hit a double play ball, but Devon Travis’ throw was slightly off and Justin Smoak couldn’t dig it out. Travis had another defensive goof in the 3rd, when he almost ran into Kevin Pillar as they both went after a fly ball. The ball dropped and a charastically emotionless Happ was visibly frustrated. He managed to escape the inning without any damage.

Happ shutdown the Orioles for the next four innings, and finished his evening with a very solid line of 7.0 IP, allowing only 2 hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. His ERA has dropped to 3.71.

Seunghwan Oh was handed the ball for the 8th. He got two outs but gave up singles to both Craig Gentry and Adam Jones, so when Manny Machado came to the plate, he was lifted for new closer (TM) Ryan Tepera. Aledmys Diaz fielded Machado’s ground ball perfectly and ended the threat. Tepera pitched a scoreless 9th and collected the save.

Offensively, the Jays had a good evening. They tied the game in the bottom of the 2nd when Russell Martin hit an Andrew Cashner offering 371 feet into the Jays’ bullpen. The bottom of the 3rd featured a whole mix of strange events. Diaz led off with a long single, then was easily caught stealing on what looked like a pitch out during a botched hit and run play. Travis followed up with a single of his own, then Curtis Granderson bunted (?!) the ball back to Cashner for another out.

Randal Grichuk put the good guys ahead in the bottom of the 5th with a solo homer of his own, his fifth extra base hit over the last four games. The Jays added another run in the bottom of the 6th, when singles by Teoscar Hernandez and Kevin Pillar put two on with one out for Russell Martin. Martin singled home Grichuk to put the Jays up 3-1.

The Jays tagged on an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th, in a little two out rally. Yangervis Solarte hit a single (what seems like his first hit in a while), and Teoscar Hernandez brought him home with his 5th triple of the year. The Blue Jays hit five triples as a team in 2017.

Kevin Pillar hit the third Jays homer of the night in the bottom of the 8th, the fourth run in as many consecutive innings.

Defensively, the Jays had another solid evening. Grichuk also made a Pillar-esqe diving catch to grab a Manny Machado fly ball in foul territory, and Tesocar Hernandez had an outfield assist throwing out Valencia at second in the 9th. On the replay, it looked like Valencia was safe, but the out call was upheld. Hernandez’s defense has really improved since his move to left field.

It was a delightful game for the almost 29,000 fans on Pride night. The hats the Jays gave out are pretty darn cool.

Jays of the Day: Happ (+.338 WPA), Martin (.137) and Grichuk (.136)

Suckage: Solarte had the low mark at (-.117)

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Tomorrow Aaron Sanchez will look to take the series against Kevin Gausman at 1:07pm EDT.