Before we get into the ugly of this “never before seen in MLB history turn of events”, let’s talk about the positives.
Aaron Sanchez was spectacular tonight, and pitched much better than his final line score. He opened the game striking out the first six Rays he faced in a row, setting a franchise record. His seventh batter was retired via groundout, so he came two short of breaking Jacob deGrom’s record of eight, but it was a delight to watch nonetheless.
Sanchez had a great feel for all three of the curveball, changeup and fastball. He induced nine swinging strikes in his first 29 pitches. His first three perfect innings combined with the six the Blue Jays’ bullpen threw at the end of yesterday’s game gave the club a perfect nine straight innings over two games.
SIX straight Ks to start the game.— MLB (@MLB) July 28, 2019
Aaron Sanchez is feeling it. pic.twitter.com/z6vi6BtZs5
Ji-Man Choi singled to lead off the 4th, breaking the streak of straight batters retired, but he was stranded there. The Rays scored one run in the 5th; Nate Lowe led off with a double, then Matt Duffy immediately singled him home. However, Duffy was thrown out at 2nd on yet another outfield assist by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
So, you've decided to run on @yunitogurriel!— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 28, 2019
Here's why that was a bad idea: pic.twitter.com/NBcC6ZxOMV
The Rays scored three more in the 6th. Sanchez gave up back-to-back one out singles to Choi and Tommy Pham, then one out later, Travis d’Arnaud doubled them both home, ending Sanchez’s afternoon. He finished the day going 5.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, notably striking out 10 (!) while once again not issuing a single walk. He threw 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes, and his ERA went up by .01 from 6.06 to 6.07.
Justin Shafer replaced Aaron Sanchez and gave up back-to-back singles, scoring the inherited runner and charging Sanchez with his fourth earned run. After a visit from Pete Walker, Shafer struck out Wendle to end the inning.
The 7th inning was equally messy. Joe Biagini walked the second batter, then gave up a homer to Choi. Tommy Pham singled, but was thrown out at second on a spectacular throw from the other side of the outfield, courtesy of Billy McKinney:
Sorry, Fam @Billy_McKinney | #LetsGoBlueJays pic.twitter.com/VI2C5uQ8Kh— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 28, 2019
This proved to be a run saving out as Austin Meadows poked one in the gap between Galvis and Biggio, which would have scored Pham. d’Arnaud followed up with a single of his own to bring the tying run to the plate. David Phelps was subbed in and he got the final out of the inning to preserve the Jays lead.
The wheels came off in Phelps’ next inning. He gave up a one-out single to Joey Wendle, then a left field bomb to the next batter in Heredia. In mirror form from yesterday, the Rays tied the game at 9-9 when Adames followed with a solo shot of his own. Daniel Hudson was summoned to stop the bleeding, and he struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Hudson was sent back out for the 9th, and walked Meadows to start the inning. One out later, Lowe singled then Duffy walked as well to load the bases with one out. Montoyo called upon Derek Law (?!) to get out of it. He induced a chopper ground out, but it functioned as a bunt that brought home the go ahead run. Another walked loaded the bases once again, but a strikeout of Adames ended preserved the one run deficit.
The Jays had another strong game offensively against starter (?) Yonny Chirinos. Every Blue Jay had at least one hit aside from Brandon Drury.
Smoak hit a solo shot over four outfielders to lead off the 2nd inning. Two outs later, Billy McKinney walked and Teoscar Hernandez drove him home on a single turned double by Guillermo Heredia misplaying the ball to give the Jays a 2-0 lead. While the Jays were scoring these two runs, the news that Eric Sogard had been allegedly traded to the Tampa Bay Rays broke, so a lot of the focus turned to the dugout cams for #hugwatch.
The Jays doubled their lead in the third. Cavan Biggio and Freddy Galvis had back-to-back singles to start the inning. With Biggio at 3rd, Lourdes Gurriel struck out on a wild pitch that scored the Jays third run. One out later, Vlad Jr singled to score Galvis, who had advanced to 3rd on a groundout.
The Jays doubled their lead again in the fifth. Gurriel led off with a single, then Smoak walked and they both advanced a base when Chirinos got called for a balk, which proved to be costly for the Rays as Vlad Jr drove them both home with a double. This brought in Adam Kolarek who struck out Drury, but gave up a 2-run homer to Billy McKinney. The Jays were up 8-1 and all was well.
Most. Dangerous. Lead. In. Baseball. https://t.co/5wF0Fj30PN— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 28, 2019
After giving up 3 in the top of the 6th, the Jays tagged on another run in the bottom of the inning. Gurriel singled again, and Vlad Jr doubled him in for his fourth RBI of the day.
Sadly, that was the end of the good hitting as the Jays’ bullpen continued to give up run after run, raining on Ace’s Birthday Bash.
Jays of the Day: Sanchez (.153), Smoak (.152) and Hernandez (.121)
Blew Jays: Phelps (-.335,) and Hudson (-.154), but every Jays pitcher today was charged with at least one earned run tonight, or let an inherited run score.
We had 432 comments in the GameThread. Alan F pulled out a narrow victory.
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Up next: The Blue Jays will head to Kansas City to take on the lowly Royals as the trade deadline fast approaches. Thomas Pannone will be recalled to oppose Brad Keller at 8:15 ET.