It wasn’t a pitchers’ duel. 28 hits, 9 walks and a hit batter lead to a combined 18 runs. This is the kind of day you’d expect from the old park in Arlington, when the bandbox dimensions would lead to marathon games in 110 degree Texas sun. Now that the Rangers play in the world’s largest Home Depot, the scoring has been curbed a bit. Not enough to slow down the Jays’ bats this series, though.
The Jays usually struggle with crafty soft-tossers, but they were all over Kohei Arihara from the first. Nine Blue Jays came to the plate, and five of them hit the ball over 98mph. Among the three who didn’t were Bo Bichette (94mph fly ball lofted into the right field gap for a double) and Matt Chapman (walk). They ended up scoring four runs, and it could have been more.
It’s a good thing the offence was going tonight, because Kevin Gausman didn’t really have it. He gave up a leadoff ground ball single to Marcus Semien and walked Corey Seager to set up a three run shot by Adolis Garcia that brought the Rangers within one.
The Jays hitters weren’t done, though. George Springer and Bichette both walked in the second, but were stranded. In the third, Cavan Biggio also walked, Danny Jansen followed with a bloop single, and Santiago Espinal ripped a ground ball that clanked of third baseman Josh Jung’s glove and rattled into the corner, scoring Biggio. Raimel tapia followed with a towering shot into the right field stands, plating three more. Back around to the top of the order for the third time, Vladimir Guerrero jr. walked and scored on Bichette’s second double of the night. All told the Jays scored 5 in the inning, making in 9-3.
Amazingly, Texas stuck with Arihara to start off the fourth. He gave up another double, to Biggio, and a deep homer to left from Danny Jansen, making it 11-3. The next batter, Santiago Espinal, lined a single back over the mound that nearly Charlie Browned Arihara, finally convincing the Rangers to make a change. John King took over and got a double play and another ground out to end the inning. He stayed in through the top of the sixth without allowing another base runner.
Meanwhile, Gausman was able to settle it down for a while. Over the course of the second through fifth innings, he scattered four singles and struck out six, not giving up any further runs.
The next action came in the bottom of the sixth. Rookie Josh Jung hit a leadoff double, and catcher Sam Huff homered to score him, cutting the Jays’ lead to six. That was enough for John Schneider, who called for Zach Pop to try to finish the inning. Gausman’s final line was pretty bad, 5.1IP with 5 runs on 8 hits (2 homers) and a walk, striking out 9. The strikeouts were there as usual, but his command looked off and a couple of his mistakes were crushed at the wrong moment. Pop also struggled. John Smith singled, and Bubba Thompson hooked a grounder just over the third base bag that bounced into the gap between Bichette at short and Raimel Tapia in left, allowing Smith to score and Thompson to come all the way around to third. He’d also score, on a Semien RBI single, to make it 11-7 before a Corey Seager double play ball ended the inning.
Facing Dennis Santana in the seventh, the Jays had a chance to add on after Springer drew a leadoff walk, but Vlad hit into a double play. Bichette added his third double of the night, but the Jays couldn’t capitalize. In the home half of the inning, Anthony Bass allowed a bloop single to Josh Lowe but K’d two and got out of it without damage.
Jonathan Hernandez worked the eighth for Texas. He battled his command, walking Matt Chapman and Tapia and allowing a Jansen single, but got a couple strikeouts and a ground out to again prevent Toronto from putting it away. Adam Cimber struggled a little as well in his half of the inning, giving up a single to smith and hitting pinch hitter Kole Calhoun (in for Thompson), but was able to strike Semien out and get a ground out from Huff. Tim Mayza was called upon to try to get the lefty Seager and was able to induce a chopper to Vlad at first for the third out.
The ninth was uneventful. Brett Martin popped Guerrero up and struck out Bichette and Kirk, while Mayza struck out Lowe, got Garcia to ground out, and got a come-backer from Leody Taveras that he was able to somehow heel-kick up into his glove and flip to first for the final out.
Jays of the Day: Springer (0.100), Bichette (0.122), Espinal (0.257), and Jansen doesn’t have the number because the game was largely over by the time he hit his homer but 4/5 with a bomb deserves a cookie.
Not so Much: Gausman (-0.137)
The series wraps up tomorrow at 2:35ET.
The Jays haven’t announced a starter and will probably go with a bullpen day (EDIT Sunday Morning: They’ve announced Trevor Richards will get the start. He’s started once this year, allowing one hit over 2.0IP during the Pittsburgh series, and began his career as a starter in Miami). Texas will start their ace, Martin Pérez (10-6, 2.82).