Wilmer Font started the game as the Blue Jays’ opener, but the “bulk” pitcher Trent Thornton was the highlight of the night, throwing five innings of no-hit ball against the Red Sox. Oh, and Toronto’s offense had a good evening as well, racking up eight runs on 11 hits against Boston pitching.
The Red Sox had scheduled this to be a “bullpen day” but it did not start promisingly for the Blue Jays. “Starter” Bobby Poyner set down the hitters six-up-six-down then Trevor Kelley—Trent Thornton’s college teammate—continued by retiring the first four Jays he faced.
But with one out in the top of the first, things fell apart for Boston. Cavan Biggio recorded the Jays’ first hit on a high popup to shallow left field near the foul line. The Red Sox were playing an exaggerated shift against Biggio so the third baseman Rafael Devers was playing a shallow shortstop position and was unable to get to the popup in time. Biggio hustled hard out of the box and reached second base on the play before he stole third uncontested.
Vladimir Guerrero then made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly to bring in Biggio. Rowdy Tellez then added two more runs with a 399-foot homer to right-centre, hit at a 102.1 mph exit velocity. After Randal Grichuk singled, Kelley was sent to the showers.
In the fifth inning, the Blue Jays hit Red Sox reliever Ryan Weber hard, fast, and often. Weber induced a flyout to Brandon Drury but then over the next four pitches it was a Danny Jansen single, Bo Bichette fliner single, Biggio single to right field, and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. single between the shortstop and third baseman to make it a 4-0 game. That Jansen single could easily have been a double had this line drive not hit Regina’s favourite son Stu Scherwater, the third base umpire.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora brought in Travis Lakins, whose first pitch was taken to the right field wall by Grichuk, who missed a homer by two feet at most. That brought in Guerrero and Biggio, then Teoscar Hernandez joined the hit parade with an emphatic 405-foot two-run homer to give the Jays the 8-0 lead they would hold for the rest of the game.
Toronto’s bats ended up with 11 hits and three walks, with all starters reaching base except for Jonathan Davis who struck out twice in four at bats. I don’t know why Davis is getting the plate appearances that should really be given to his brother-in-law Anthony Alford.
But the spotlight should be focused on the featured pitcher Trent Thornton. He hasn’t had a good time on the mound lately and he had struggled mightily against the Red Sox this year (12.19 ERA, 24 hits, 5 walks and 14 runs in 10.1 innings) but he made the right adjustments tonight and tossed a gem. He gave up no hits and struck out seven on just one walk over five innings of relief. He looked really good tonight, partly thanks to a new pitch that he was taught.
On Monday, Clay Buchholz taught Trent Thornton a new curveball grip. Tonight Thornton used it to hold the Red Sox hitless for five innings #BlueJays— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) September 12, 2019
Thornton became just the second reliever in franchise history to throw five or more innings of no-hit ball. (The first was Roy Lee Jackson in 1982).
A few scattered notes
- Bo Bichette made a throwing error trying to rush a throw in the top of the second inning.
- Wilmer Font gave up a hit but served well as the Jays’ opener. Jason Adam threw a perfect eighth inning.
- The Blue Jays still had a combined one-hitter against the Red Sox until the ninth inning, when Ryan Tepera gave up a single to Brock Holt a pitch after Holt hit a towering fly ball foul.
- Alex Cora decided to challenged a called double-play while his team was down eight runs in the ninth inning. It was overturned but still that should be banned. Cora also brought in a pinch hitter for Rafael Devers later that inning.
- The Red Sox only used seven pitchers tonight!
- Today we found out that the Blue Jays called up Bisons hitting coach Corey Hart as their “extra” coach in September.
- This was Toronto’s second two-hitter tossed this year, the first being a 6-0 win against the Tigers back on March 29. Matt Shoemaker threw seven innings of two-hit ball and Javy Guerra followed with a couple perfect innings.
Jays of the Day! Trent Thornton (+.183 WPA), Cavan Biggio (+.106), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+.101), Wilmer Font (+.100).
Suckage Jays: None
The Blue Jays will be trying to complete the sweep against the Red Sox tomorrow at 7:07 ET. Clay Buchholz will be on the mound facing Jhoulys Chacín.
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