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Jays win 5-2 behind a trio of home runs

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 5 White Sox 2

A 1-1 pitcher’s duel through seven innings in the rubber match of a rainy series finished with a flourish and some metaphorical fireworks on Victoria Day weekend.

Leading off the 8th inning, Jonathan Davis broke an 0-for-16 start to his season with a line drive single. That turned the lineup over the top and leadoff hitter Eric Sogard, who has been one of the productive hitters thus far this season (setting aside whether that’s likely to be sustained). Charlie Montoyo had the tactically questionable move of ordering a sacrifice bunt, which if executed properly would likely result in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. behind him being pitched around with an open base.

Alas, it was not close to successful as Sogard popped up the bunt. And so the White Sox pitched to Vladdy, which turned out to be a monumentally bad idea. He drilled on 0-1 fastball way out to left field to give the Jays a 3-1 lead that would prove decisive.

The bats were pretty quiet to that point, with the only run scoring on a Billy McKinney home run to start the 3rd inning to give the Jays a short lived lead. Danny Jansen followed with a single, but it wasn’t Sogard’s day and a double play ball ended that. They didn’t have many opportunities against Reynaldo Lopez, but failed to capitalize on the one golden one they had in the fourth. Vladdy led off with a single, and Justin Smoak walked to put two on with none out. But other than Freddy Galvis walking with two out to load the bases, they did nothing with it.

On the opposite side, Trent Thornton was very good, continuing his tendency to either thrive or get shelled with little in the middle. The only blemish on his line was a run on the fourth, as he gave up a leadoff triple that scored on a groundout. Otherwise, he allowed just two singles, a walk and HBP over six innings, with four strikeouts.

After Vlad’s home run, Tim Mayza came for the bottom of the 8th after Daniel Hudson handled a scoreless 7th. He was not real sharp, allowing a leadoff walk before a hit to put the tying run aboard. He then got a double play that was absolutely critical, reducing the White Sox win probability by two thirds from about 36% to 12%.

Montoyo went to Ken Giles to face the righty Jose Abreu. It didn’t quite work, as Abreu double to score the inherited runner, but Giles struck out Yonder Alonso to hold the lead.

The Jays were able to add a couple of critical insurance runs. After McKinney beat out an infeld single, Danny Jansen put an exclamation mark on a series playied in front of a large group of friends and family in from Wisconsin:

Giles dominant in the 9th, allowing just an infield single, and the Jays split the four game series with the White Sox in the last time they will see them until 2020.

Jays of the Day: Vlad! (+ 0.339 WPA), Thornton (+0.223), Jansen (+.109)

Blew Jays: Sogard (-0.154)

Tomorrow, for the first time since 2015 the Blue Jays will actually have a game on Victoria Day, as they host the Red Sox for the first time this season in a matinee affair at 1:05 EDT that’s not actually in le matin. So that’s nice, even if the pitching matchup of David Price and Edwin Jackson is not.