Phillies 3 at Blue Jays 4
The Jays needed a big start from their $100-million erstwhile ace to halt their tailspin, and Jose Berrios more than delivered. While he wasn’t immaculate and the Phillies were able to get to him for 3 runs on 6 hits, that’s mostly a credit to their lineup as for most of the night he was as flat out dominating as he’s been in a Blue Jays uniform.
Over six innings, Berrios piled up 13 strikeouts on a back of a lethal combination of fastballs well-placed at or above the top of the zone paired with very sharp curveballs that started over the heart of the plate before diving down past the bats of flailing Phillies. For good measure, he also had a pretty good fading change-up to pull out of his back pocket here and there that induced five of the 20 swinging strikes he generated.
It was almost not fair, but the Phillies were able to do some damage. After retiring the five batters (the last three doing down swinging), Bryson Stott and Matt Vierling were able to square up line drives. Obudel Herrera did not do that, but squibbed a ball down the third base line for a cheap single that plated a run.
After five more straight swinging strikeouts over the 3rd and 4th in which berrios was just flat out nasty, Stott came back up and gave up a good battle. He spoiled a bunch of good pitches pitches until finally getting a mistake on the 7th pitch, a belt high fastball that caught the inner third. Stott turned on it and hit a no doubt screamer over the fence in right to tie the game 2-2.
The y added more more off Berrios in the 5th to once again tie the game. Garrett Stubbs laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line, he stole second and scored on a two out roller up the middle. The irony was weak contact was responsible, while Kyle Schwarber laced a ball to the warning tack that Springer just barely tracked down.
After Berrios departed, the bullpen did the job slamming the door. Tim Mayza and Yimi Garcia worked clean innings (in very different ways, three grounders for Mayza, three fly outs for Garcia). Jordan Romano worked around a leadoff single to secure the save.
Offensively, the Jays did just enough to win in plating four runs, mostly thanks to the one-man wrecking crew of a red hot Lourdes Gurriel Jr., as well as some timely hitting from Teoscar Hernandez. The former went a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles to almost single-handedly will the Jays to victory.
That said, the Jays squandered a number of opportunities to pull away and give themselves some breathing room. They almost did that in the first, as after George Springer led off with a single and Bo Bichette walked to set up a potential big inning, Phillies starter Andrew Bellatti rebounded to strike out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk. But Teoscar hit a missile to the gap just right of centre to plate them and stake the Jays to a 2-0 lead.
After stranding runners in the next two innings while the Phillies tied the score, the Jays retook the lead in the 4th. With two our Gurriel hit his first double, scoring as Matt Chapman smashed a double into the left-centre gap.
Their last run also was keyed by a Gurriel double. Kirk and Teoscar singled back-to-back with one out in the 6th in front of him, and the only unfortunate thing was he hit the ball so hard it bounced right over the fence to only score one run. Chapman walked to load the bases, but Santiago Espinal failed to execute in popping out.
The Jays stranded a pair of almost identical singles to left by Vladdy and Kirk in the 7th, and closed out the 5th and 8th innings with lineouts right to first base that doubled off runners (Bichette and Espinal).
Jays of the Day: Gurriel (+0.272 WPA) and Teoscat (+0.150) on the positional side. On the pitching side, ironically Berrios (+0.004) is the only one to to miss with Romano (+0.165), Garcia (+0.122) and Mayza (+0.096) all hitting the mark. But 13 strikeouts more than ustifies one so Berrios gets one too despite letting the Phillies tie the game twice.
Suckage: Espinal (-0.120) and Vladdy (-0.100), who looked about as bad/clueless/helpless at the plate as I’ve ever seen him.
Tomorrow, the Jays will look to sweep the mini-series, though they’ll be in tough with Zach Wheeler scheduled against the solid Ross Stripling on Kevin Gausman bobblehead night.