For the second stage of the Invasion of Safeco, the Jays opted for an opening course of Wilmer Font, before the main course of Brock Stewart — AKA Beef Stew. Let’s just say I won’t be leaving a positive Yelp review and the restaurant (the Blue Jays pitching staff) won’t be getting Michelin stars anytime soon.
Font put the Jays in an early hole, the opener opening with a walk and double to put two runners in scoring position with none out. After punishing Jays pitching last night, Kyle Seager wasn’t about to let that opportunity pass by, singling home both.
The Jays didn’t take too long to respond and even it up in the top of the third, with solo home runs by Tesocar Hernandez (leading off) and Bo Bichette (with two out).
Following the latter bomb, the Jays got a pair of baserunners via a Cavan Biggio walk and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being hit, but stranded them, Sequencing, guys, sequencing.
Stewart pitched five serviceable if underwhelming innings. Not a single one was clean — leadoff doubles in the 2nd and 6th, two out runners in the 3rd and 4th were worked around, leaving the 5th as the only inning he took damage. It started with a single, then Seager doubled of course, followed by Omar Narvaez bringing them all in with a home run. So the Beef Stew was lukewarm and lacking refinement, but three runs in five innings nominally kept them in the game, it could have been worse with seven hits allowed.
For a while, it did look like that three run home run might be decisive, as outside the 2nd the Jays did little against Felix Hernandez. But he departed after six, and the bats got rolling off reliever Matt Wisler. Tesocar walked leading off, scoring on a Billy McKinney double, in turn driven in an out later via Bichette singling. Biggio walked again, a wild pitch advancing both runners, allow Vladdy to equalize the score on a groundout. Rowdy Tellez put the Jays ahead for good with a RBI double.
The lead in hand, Jordan Romano was summoned to hold it, and turned in a quick and efficient 7th with Vladdy recording all three outs on two P5s and a routine 5-3.
Bichette then gave the Jays some insurance, smashing a double to the gap to make the Mariners pay for a two out walk. In turned out he wasn’t quite down bailing the Jays out, this time on the defensive side. Romano was back for the 8th and walked the first two, before Buddy Boshers came in to strike out one batter before giving way to Derek Law.
A wild pitch sent the runners up, and then a ball was hit pretty hard out to Bichette. For whatever reason, Daniel Vogelbach broke home, and was easily out despite a bit of a lollipop throw from Bichette. Law issued a walk before getting out unscathed, and then walked the leadoff batter of the 9th, a really bad idea with Seager up as the tying run. But he retired the side with a pair of strikeouts sandwiched around a groundout to secure the Gregg.
Jays of the Day: Bichette (+0.378 WPA), Teoscar (+0.129), Tellez (+0.129), Law (+0.253, purely on the result as ugly as it was), Boshers (+0.110, not bad for a batter’s work).
Blew Jays: Font (-0.165), Stewart (-0.156), Smoak (-0.099), Romano (-0.095, a little harsh given the clean inning).
Tomorrow, the Jays conclude their West coast road trip at 4:05 PM eastern, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against Marco Gonzales (who somehow has 23 decisions?).