Tigers 3 Blue Jays 5
Sometimes a game changes on a moment. Tonight, for a bit, I was worried that moment was happening at the top of the eighth.
Jays up by 2, Yimi Garcia in. He gave up a leadoff double to Robbie Grossman. Then he got a popup into short left field. Lourdes Gurriel and Bo Bichette went after it from different directions. It looked like Lourdes was calling it, but Bo, running from the other direction, may not have heard. They collided, and the ball dropped, putting the tying run on base with no outs. Bo was rubbing his collar bone area after, I hope he’s ok. Garcia walked the next batter to load the bases.
Yimi then got Miguel Cabrera to hit a medium fly to right. George Springer, who just moved over to right, kept the runners from moving up. Eric Hasse hit a fly deep to score a run on a nine-pitch at-bat.
That got John Schneider to bring Jordan Romano in. Romano got a ground ball on the first pitch to end the inning.
We got that run back in the bottom of the eighth. Lourdes Gurriel reached on a Jeimer Candelario error. Matt Chapman walked. Santiago Espinal, against a right-hander (who he doesn’t hit well) put down a good sac bunt. I’m not a fan of the bunt, but late in the game in a one-run game is the time you might do it. John, in the post-game, said he took the bunt off when it was 3-0 and put it back on at 3-1. Danny Jansen followed with a fly ball that was just a couple of feet short of a home run in the left-field corner. But it did score a run.
The bad news, after Danny’s sac fly, Springer hit a fly out and grabbed his elbow right after. Hopefully, it isn’t serious, but it didn’t look good.
Romano didn’t need the extra run, pitching a 1, 2, 3 ninth.
Yusei Kikuchi looked very good. He went 5 innings, allowed just 2 hits (unfortunately, one of them was a Willi Castro home run that just hit the top of the fence and bounced over), just 1 walk, with 5 strikeouts. He came out after 67 pitches. It was his first game back from the IL, and they weren’t going to push him past 75, so getting him out after the five good innings was smart.
Adam Cimber pitched a clean sixth. Tim Mayza gave up a home run in the seventh.
On offence, it was the Chapman show. He had two home runs (both no doubters), three RBI, and a walk.
As a team, we had 10 hits. Alejandro Kirk and Bichette each had two hits. Kirk also took off to steal second (which had everyone laughing, but the pitch was fouled off, so we’ll never know if he would have been safe.
Vlad, Springer, Lourdes and Jansen had a hit each. Vlad almost had another. He lined a ball to center at 113.3 MPH but Willie Castro made a terrific catch. I’m sure if I had tried to catch that, every bone in my hand would have shattered. Vlad hit a ground ball at 113.3 MPH that was a ground out earlier in the game. His softest hit ball of the game, only 103.6 MPH, was his only hit, a double. His three other at-bats were harder hit balls.
Vlad had a very good game with the glove too. He made a great stretch to get a Chapman throw and get an out to lead off the ninth. He made a nice catch on a popup down the right-field line.
Jays of the Day: Chapman (.270 WPA), Romano (.198), Kikuchi (.162). Let’s give an honourable mention to Kirk (.088) for the steal attempt and the hustle double. And Vlad (.054, plus the glove). And Lourdes (.076).
Suckage: Hernandez (-.170, 0 for 4, leaving 6 on base). Garcia had the number too, but that was because of the Bo/Lourdes collision. I guess I’d rather have both of them try for it than no one try.
Tomorrow is another one of those stupid Apple TV games. Alek Monoah (11-4.2.24) starts for the Jays. Bryan Garcia makes his first start of the season for the Tigers.