The outcome of this one became irrelevant in the bottom of the third. Bo Bichette rounded first after roping a ground ball into the right field corner, tried to put the breaks on, and his knee buckled. He was able to walk off, but was clearly in serious pain doing so. No meaningful updates yet (the team says he was removed with “right knee discomfort”, which, yes, thanks, we gathered that).
The game itself, in case you still care, was also mostly bad. They Jays battled, but were awful with runners in scoring position yet again, going 0-10. Bassitt got off to a bad start, and while he recovered to go six in the end, as it turned out the winning run has been scored in the top of the third.
Chris Bassitt got off to a decent start. He struck out Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and got to two strikes on Anthony Santander. Then the wheels came off. Four balls in a row put Santander on, Ryan O’Hearn lined a single, and Ryan Mountcastle brought both runners home. Bassitt issue another walk but got out of the inning there. He was clean in the second, with an assist from Alejandro Kirk gunning Jorge Mateo down stealing third. The third brought more strugles, with a Henderson solo homer and a Santander double brought home on two sac flies to make it 4-0.
Bassitt actually rallied well from that point on, working scoreless fourth, fifth and sixth innings to keep the game within reach. Given that the first inning took him 37 pitches, that’s remarkable tenacity. Still, a significant hole was already dug by the time he handed the ball over.
Nate Pearson took care of the seventh, working around a walk by striking out two. Newly recalled Bowden Francis gave up a double to Mountcastle in the eighth, but escaped the jam with a K and a couple of ground outs. He came back for the ninth and sat the Orioles down in order, picking up another K.
The offense never really broke through against Kyle Gibson. They got two on in the first, with a Bo Bichette single and a Vlad Guerrero jr. walk, but Matt Chapman grounded out to strand the runners. They went down in order in the second. In the third, Bichette hit what would have been a two out single, but pulled up half way to second with his knee injury and was tagged out. They finally got on the board in the fifth, on the basis of a Daulton Varsho Texas Leauger, a Kirk fly ball single, and a Kevin Kiermaier sacrifice ground ball. One was all they’d manage, though, leaving the deficit at three.
Gibson breezed through the sixth. He came out for the seventh, but Matt Chapman worked a walk and Brandon Hyde called for the lefty Danny Coulombe to face Varsho. It didn’t work the way they drew it up, as Varsho walked on four pitches, but it did work, as Coulombe got the next three guys in order to escape the jam.
Whit Merrifield (who was apparently replaced by Mike Trout in a clever disguise during the all star break) took Yennier Cano deep to lead off the bottom of the eighth and bring the Jays within two. Cano got Santiago Espinal to ground out, but walked Brandon Belt and Guerrero. That forced Hyde to ask Felix Bautista to attempt the five out save. He struck Chapman out on an awful call by home plat umpire Jeremy Riggs, and got Varsho to pop out.
The Jays gave themselves one more chance in the bottom of the ninth. Kirk and Kiermaier worked walks to bring the winning run to the plate with one out. Merrifield lined the ball into the left field gap for what looked briefly like a potential game tieing double, but Austin Hays made a spectacular lay out catch to rob him, and that was that. Bautista retired Espinal to secure the win for Baltimore.
Jays of the Day: Nobody.
Suckage: Fate and an uncaring universe. Also Bassitt and Espinal.
Well, it’s only one game and as great as he’s been, Bo is only one player. Have to shake it off, hope he’ll be back soon, and keep going. Tomorrow, Hyun Jin Ryu makes his return from Tommy John surgery. He’ll face off with Kyle Bradish (6-6, 3.29). First pitch is at 7:07pm ET.