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Today in Jays history: Buehrle Gives Up 7 Runs, But Jays Win

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

10 Years Ago Today

Mark Buehrle gave up seven runs in an inning against the Rays, but the Jays came back to win 8-7.

Buehrle had a rough start to his first season with the Blue Jays. Coming into this game, he had a 6.43 ERA in 6 starts. We thought maybe Mark wasn’t up to pitching in the AL East. He had been good in the NL East, but the smaller parks and the better hitters of the AL East seemed too much for him.

Then came this start against the Rays in that wonderful place Tropicana Field.

The first two innings went ok. Mark loaded the bases first but got out of the inning and then had a quick second. Then came the third. From Minor Leaguer’s recap:

The Rays’ half of the third inning looked like this: single, walk, single (run), single, grand slam (4 runs), double, strikeout, homer (2 runs), ground out, strikeout. So for those not tallying, that was six hits and seven runs in that inning—but hey, he struck out two while only walking one. A partial positive we could take from Buehrle’s start is that he logged three more clean (more or less) innings after his blowup to give the Blue Jays their chance to start a rally. Besides that, there was nothing much good to say about him.

How often does a manager leave a starting pitcher to give up 7 runs in an inning? How often does a pitcher give up seven runs in an inning and then throw three more innings? But a) our bullpen had done a ton of work leading up to that game, and b) down by 7. The game is over, so why not have him eat innings? As ML mentions in the recap, the Jays had a 1.7% chance of winning after the seven runs.

The comeback, we scored:

  • Three in the fourth: Adam Lind singled, Colby Rasmus homered. Munenori Kawasaki walked, Brett Lawrie walked, and Melky Cabrera singled home Muni. 7-3.
  • Two in the sixth: Maicer Izturis singled, and Mark DeRosa homered. 7-5.
  • One in the eighth: J.P. Arencibia singled, Lawrie walked, Cabrera reached on an error (Yunel Escobar helped us out), and JP scored on a Jose Bautista sac fly. 7-6
  • Two in the ninth: Lind walked, Emilio Bonifacio came as pinch-runner and stole second. Two out later, Arencibia homered to give us our first lead of the day. 8-7 Jays.

Our bullpen pitched three scoreless to give us a chance to come back. Esmil Rogers (remember him?). Darren Oliver (getting the win) and Casey Janssen (getting his 8th save, with a 0.82 ERA) pitched an inning.

Jays of the Day! J.P. Arencibia (+.765!!! WPA), Casey Janssen (+.167 WPA), Melky Cabrera (+.136 WPA). I will also give honourary JoD awards to Colby Rasmus and Mark DeRosa for homering in low-leverage situations. Honourary JoDs also go to the Jays fans who were down there cheering on the team and bringing the attendance to 9,952.

Arencibia joins just 11 other Blue Jays to have a game WPA of over +.750, and is sitting at 11th place all-time. Roberto Alomar led the way with a +1.037 WPA effort back on May 10, 1991.

Suckage Jays: Mark Buehrle (-.299 WPA), Maicer Izturis (-.210 WPA).

I’ll note that WPA is calculated differently now; that game is now worth a .736 WPA, which would be the Jays’ 25th-best game among batters in team history. And Jose Bautista now sits at the top of the list with a 1.062 WPA on May 22, 2013.