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Blue Jays Rally Behind Rowdy Tellez to Sweep Phillies Double Header

Move into Playoff Position

MLB: Game Two-Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

That was a wild ride.

Trent Thornton didn’t survive the first inning in his return from the IL. It started with some bad luck. Three of the first four batters reached on bloop singles while the other, Bryce Harper, walked. The first solid contact came from Alec Bohm, who lined a single to right field to make it 2-0. At this point, Thornton rallied a bit, getting Jay Bruce swinging and trading a third run for a second out on a weak sac fly by Neil Walker. He gave up a ground rule double to the next hitter, Andrew Knapp, that scored another run, and that was the end of his day. Trent wasn’t good, obviously, but he wasn’t as bad as his results either. He was mostly around the zone (except to Harper, which I don’t really blame him for), missed a few bats and only Bohm really squared him up.

Jacob Waguespack relieved him and hit Scott Kingery with his third pitch to load the bases back up. Andrew McCutchen helpfully cleared them out for him with a three run double. All but one run belonged to Thornton, driving his final line to 0.2IP, 5H, 6R, 6ER, 1BB, 1K.

The game seemed all but over by the time the Jays got to bat, but the offense didn’t go quietly. Cavan Biggio worked a leadoff walk off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. Randal Grichuk struck out and Rowdy Tellez grounded into a fielder’s choice before Teoscar Hernandez launched a two run home run to left center to make it 7-2. Vlad Guerrero jr. worked a walk and advanced to third on a line single by Lourdes Gurriel jr., but Joe Panik popped out to end the inning.

Waguespack righted the ship in the second. The Phillies continued to hit soft fly balls, but this time they landed in gloves for a three up, three down inning. In the Jays’ half of the inning, Danny Jansen and Brandon Drury flied and grounded out, respectively, before Cavan Biggio struck out swinging.

In the third, Waguespack recorded a second 1-2-3 inning and picked up his second and third strikeouts (of Neil Walker and Andrew Knapp). Tellez singled in the bottom half of the inning following a leadoff groundout by Grichuk, but Hernandez and Guerrero struck out to strand him.

Shun Yamaguchi came in to handle the fourth for the Jays. He got Kingery and McCutchen to fly out before striking out Hoskins swinging. The Jays also went down in order, with Gurriel flying out to right, Panik grounding to short, and Jansen hitting a soft liner to centre.

Yamaguchi opened the fifth by sandwiching walks to Harper and Bohm around a Didi Gregorius popout. He recovered by getting Jay Bruce to strike out on a nasty splitter and freezing Neil Walker on a changeup that was maybe a bit outside. It was nice to see a couple of his splitters look sharp today. It’s the only pitch he has that’s really plus by MLB standards, and he’s had a hard time finding his feel for it with the slipperier MLB ball.

Brandon Drury flailed at a shoulder high fastball to record the first out in the bottom of the fifth. While the DFA of Anthony Alford this afternoon felt like it was a long time coming, I can’t see how Drury would be any less deserving of the axe. Velasquez then froze Biggio with a fastball that caught the corner up under his hands and got Grichuck to swing through a fastball right down the pipe to strike out the side.

Yamaguchi came back out for the sixth and got a flyout from Knapp before striking out Kingery. Anthony Kay came in to face McCutchen, and was able to pop him up to end the inning. The Jays have lots of pitchers in their bullpen who have mostly been starters in their careers, and it was nice to see Montoyo allow Waguespack and Yamaguchi to go more than three or four outs today (not that he had much choice after his starters in the double header combined for 4.1 innings).

Rowdy Tellez kicked off a rally in the Jays’ half of the inning by hitting an absolute bomb off the parking garage outside the stadium in right. At 117.4mph off the bat, it was the second hardest hit home run in baseball this season. Hernandez lined a single to centre field to finally end Vince Velasquez’s day. Connor Brogdon came in for the Phillies and walked Guerrero to put men on first and second for Lourdes Gurriel jr., who proceeded to launch his second homer of the season over the left field wall and make it a one run game. Panik grounded out to second to record the first out of the inning.

At this point Joe Girardi brought in closer Hector Neris to face Danny Jansen. Neris got Jansen to hit a ground ball to the left field side of second base that should have been an easy out, but a bad throw by second baseman Scott Kingery pulled Hoskins off the bag at first and Jansen was safe. Neris struck out Shaw, pinch hitting for Drury, and sure looked like he’d gotten Biggio before the 3rd base umpire ruled that he hadn’t gone around. Biggio walked to put two men on for Randal Grichuk, who laced a ground ball right at Didi Gregorius’s fee that the shortstop was somehow unable to come up with, and the bases were loaded for Rowdy’s second AB of the inning. With the count 1-2, Neris tried to get Tellez to chase a breaking ball down and in on his back foot. He buried it a little too much, though, and the ball got past Knapp and to the backstop, allowing Jansen to score from third and Biggio and Grichuk to advance. Tellez lofted the next pitch into centre field for a two run single to give the Jays a 9-7 lead.

Reggie McClain came in to try to stop the bleeding, but walked Hernandez on four pitches and gave up a line single to Guerrero to load the bases. He got a ground ball to short from Gurriel, though, and this time Gregorius made no mistakes, throwing Gurriel out at first to finally end the inning. The Jays sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring seven.

The drama continued in the top of the seventh. Kay got Hoskins to pop out, and Harper flied out near the wall in the left field corner. Shaw, playing short in the shift, booted a ground ball by Didi Gregorius to bring the tying run to the plate. Bohm then doubled off the wall in right centre. Grichuk got the ball in quickly to keep Gregorius from scoring, but the go-ahead run was now at the plate for Philadelphia. That ended Kay’s night, and AJ Cole was brought in to face pinch hitter JT Realmuto. Realmuto hit a soft liner off Cole’s glove. The ball landed between the mound and first, and a momentary miscommunication between Cole and Tellez allowed Realmuto to reach, scoring Gregorius and putting the tying run on third. Cole recovered by getting Roman Quinn to strike out swinging and ice the Jays’ victory.

Jay of the Day: Rowdy Telez (.340 WPA) had two crucial hits to kick off the rally and then to take the lead. Danny Jansen (0.293) and Lourdes Gurriel jr. (0.167) also played major roles. AJ Cole (0.120) was the only pitcher who made the mark.

Suckage: Trent Thornton (-0.352) had the worst WPA of the day on the Jays’ side, but I’d argue it was at least as much due to bad luck as bad play. Waguespack didn’t have the number (-0.066), but if he hadn’t hit the first batter he faced and given up a double to the second the deficit would have been a lot more manageable, so I think he deserves one. Joe Panik (-0.107) was the only hitter to have the number, but Shaw was close (-0.082), and he booted a very playable ball to prolong the drama in the top of the 7th, so I’ll count him too.

The Jays pack up and fly to Tampa tonight, where they’ll play the Rays at 6:40 ET tomorrow evening. Ryan Yarborough will be on the bump for the Rays. The Jays haven’t announced their starter yet. The game will be televised on SportsNet One.

There were 960 comments on the combined GameThread. radivel lead us to a double victory today.

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