Astros 2 Blue Jays 3
Two great starts in a row for the Jays.
Yesterday it was Kevin Gausman. Today it was Chris Bassitt.
Bassitt went 8 innings. Allowed just 4 hits, with no walks and 5 strikeouts (one of those strikeouts came on a Jose Abreu clock violation). The two runs came on a Yordan Alvarez home run after a Mauricio single off Bassitt’s glove. Two of the four Astro hits came on balls that went off Bassitt’s glove. Both likely would have been outs had he not touched them.
Just a wonderful start. Even Buck Martinez has come around to the idea that Chris should call his own game. After his first couple of starts that weren’t great, we were told only catchers could call a game. Never believe anything off a small sample. Let things play out a bit before giving an opinion.
His ERA is now 3.29.
We didn’t do all that much on offence. Ronel Blanco was pretty good too. We got two solo homers off him. Bo Bichette crushed his 14th of the season in the fourth inning, 426 feet to center field. And Brandon Belt hit one out to right in the sixth, ‘just’ 408 feet.
Our other run came in the seventh. Daulton Varsho walked (ball four was on a clock violation). An out later, Kevin Kiermaier walked. Then John decided to pinch-hit Alejandro Kirk for Tyler Heineman. Smart move, a pretty obvious move, but good on John. Alejandro lined a single to center. It wasn’t hit high, and Varsho had to wait to ensure it cleared the infield, but Varsho motored home. Great baserunning. Unfortunately, George Springer and Bo Bichette couldn’t bring Merrifield from third. It would have been nice to have that insurance run.
Jordan Romano came into the game in the ninth. If the Jays had added to the lead, we would have seen Bassitt in the ninth, but with the one-run lead, John went to Romano. It almost failed on the first pitch, Mauricio Dubon lined one high off the left field wall, only a few feet higher, and the game would have been tied. But a Jose Altuve ground out, a Yordan Alvarez lines out to center (amazing catch by Kevin Kiermaier, maybe the defensive play of the day), and a Kyle Tucker strikeout got Romano his 16th save and us a big win.
We got a very nice defensive play in the first inning from Merrifield. Dubon (he had three of the Astro’s five hits today) started the game with a single. Altuve lined one that Merrifield made a nice catch on. Dubon was running on the pitch and didn’t even go through the motions of returning to first. A big double play.
Jays of the Day: Bassitt (.255 WPA), Romano (.157), Kirk (.209), and Belt (.144). Let’s give an honourable mention to Kiermaier for the catch in the ninth and Bo for the home run (he only had a .007 WPA because of strikeouts with runners on).
The Other Award: Springer (-.111, 0 for 3 with a k....if he could have scored Kiermaier from 3 in the seventh, the ninth inning would have had much less drama).
Of note: Varsho’s hitting streak ends at ten, after an 0 for 1, with 2 walks. He also had a steal (the best jump I’ve ever seen off a pitcher.
Cavan Biggio, pinch-running, was caught stealing in the eighth. It was close, called safe on the field, and overturned on appeal.
Tomorrow we go for the series win with Jose Berrios (5-4, 3.66). Framber Valdez (6-4, 2.16) starts for the Astros. Valdez is pitching great, but, like Gausman, his teammates haven’t been scoring for him. 7 of his 12 starts saw the Astro score 3 or fewer runs.