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Sean Reid-Foley overpowers Marlins to earn first MLB win

An Earl Weaver victory: pitching, defence, and the three-run homer

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 6 Marlins 1

The third time turned out to be the charm. Sean Reid-Foley’s first two MLB starts were pretty rough, but Sunday was a different story entirely as he largely dominated the Marlins over 7 innings, allowing just a run on four hits, with 10 strikeouts against just two free passes.

In truth, the first inning was to some extent similar to his first couple starts. He struck out the side in order, but it was mostly fastballs up in the zone albeit it with a little more juice, consistently around 95 MPH. He piled up the swings and misses, but one was left to wonder how long it could last before major league hitters adjusted and instead connected.

Happily, we were not to find out, as over the next three innings Reid-Foley painted the edges with his fastball, while mixing in breaking balls that were much more consistently sharp than in his first go-around. After a leadoff single to start the second, he set down the next seven batters before allowing a single to J.T. Realmuto. It was then that Devon Travis stepped up, diving to snare a line drive that was heading up the middle, rolling and making an accurate throw to first to double up Realmuto to get Reid-Foley out of the inning.

The 5th inning was the only time he ran into real trouble, as the bases were loaded to start off a couple of ground ball singles and a hit-by-pitch. He almost got out of it with no damage, getting a strikeout and a soft “plineout” to Travis to get two outs. But his command had slipped and he’s been quite all over the place, and it bit him as he walked in a run before getting a strikeout.

Perhaps most encouragingly of all, he rebounded from that ordeal to finish the outing strongly, with two more clean innings. They were pretty efficient too, as the location was much better and he piled up a couple more strikeouts to reach dougle digits and mostly weak contact (Randal Gruchuk made a nice play to snare a sinking line drives).

Meanwhile, the bats came to play from the get go, rather than snoozing until the 9th inning, building a lead before all but putting the game away in the 5th. They started with a pair of singles in the 1st inning from Billy McKinney and Travis in the first, plating the run on a sac fly from Kendrys Morales. They did a chance for a big inning in the 2nd, as the bases were loaded on free passes but stranded (partly because of Reid-Foley coming up and striking out with one out, yay for pitchers hitting).

The next two runs also scored on sacrifice flies, as Morales walked and Grichuk doubled to start the 3rd. They both advanced on a deep flyout from Lourdes Gurriel, and then Aledmys Diaz did the same to plate Grichuk. Even making outs today, a lot of balls were hit very hard. They bid for more, as Tesocar Hernandez walked and Luke Maile followed with a double, but Teoscar was thrown out at the plate (a good send considering Reid-Foley was next, again, yay for NL baseball)

The coup de grace came in the 5th inning, once again catalyzed by the top of the order. Grichuk was hit by a pitch and Gurriel followed with a single. That brought Teoscar up with two out, and he smashed a three run home run to make it 6-0.

That ended up being up the extent of the offensive production, as the Jays largely went in order the rest of the way. The exception was Luke Maile, who added two more doubles. It’s too bad none of them figured into the scoring.

Thomas Pannone pitched the last two innings, looking great initially with a pair of strikeouts in a clean 8th and a pair of popouts to start the 9th. Then a blooper fell in and he allowed a screaming double to put a pair in scoring position (and was lucky to avoid the run scoring), before a strikeout to end the game. Not a bad outing at all.

Jays of the Day: Reid-Foley (+0.241 WPA on the mound, though -0.058 at the plate), Tesocar (+0.141). We’ll give one to Maile (+0.025) as well for the trio of doubles.

Suckage: None!

Tomorrow, the Jays return home from Florida to face...a team from Florida. Yeah, after a couple weeks of soft competition, things get real with the first of 10 (!) more games against Tampa out of the last 26 games and 28 days of the 2018 season. At this point, the pitching matchup looks uncertain, with MLB not listing a probable for the Rays and Marcus Stroman for the Jays (currently on the DL).