Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Now that was a pretty damn good ballgame!
In their first meeting with the trash Royals of Kansas City since Game Six of last year’s ALCS, the Jays won 6-1. They got a spectacular performance (again) out of Aaron Sanchez, who didn’t give up a run until a Kendrys Morales solo blast in the top of the seventh. Sanchy only struck out three, but allowed just three hits and one walk, looking in control the whole way.
Of course, things got a little dicey after the Morales bomb. That tied the game at 1-1, matching the run the Blue Jays had put on the board way back in the bottom of the first, by way of an RBI groundout from Michael Saunders.
There were five tense, scoreless innings as the Blue Jays clung to that 1-0 lead, unable to get anything else off noted shitheel Edinson Volquez. And when suddenly the game was tied, worry began to creep in. Could the bullpen hold again as well as they did against Cleveland over the weekend? Were we ready for more heart-stopping late- and extra-inning action with the thinnest of margins for error?
Didn’t matter, it turns out! Volquez began the bottom of the seventh by walking Russell Martin. Troy Tulowitzki singled. Then, after an “oh fuck, we’d better get someone up” mound visit, Volquez hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch. Luke Hochevar came in to replace Volquez, but the damage was already pretty severe. Devon Travis walked, bringing around Martin as the go-ahead run, then Darwin Barney (of all people) singled home two more runs, then advanced to second (as Travis did to third) on a bunt from Ezequiel Carrera, setting up Josh Donaldson to put it especially out of reach, as he singled home two more to make it 6-1.
An Eric Hosmer home run in the top of the ninth off Brett Cecil cut the Jays’ lead to 6-2, but by then the tension had long since melted. Fuckin’ eh.
Some quick notes (mostly via tweets):
Troy Tulowitzki’s season wRC+ went from 101 to 104, as he had two more hits and a walk in four plate appearances. More importantly:
What watching Troy Tulowitzki become TULO again is an odd mixture of excitement and relief, if we’re putting all our cards on the table.
— Drew F (@DrewGROF) July 5, 2016
Aaron Sanchez had a stomach flu tonight. He threw eight innings of three-hit ball.
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) July 5, 2016
Sanchez’s ERA dropped to 2.94 after today’s performance. Among American League pitchers with at least 100 innings over the last calendar year, Sanchez ranks fourth by ERA. Only teammate Marco Estrada, Boston’s Stephen Wright, and Cleveland’s Danny Salazar have topped him. (All four have Mark Shapiro connections, incidentally).
There’s also this:
No need for a Crying Jordan pic.twitter.com/EHEp4YLMfc
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) July 5, 2016
Here’s a team that can fuck right off: the Royals!
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) July 5, 2016