Photo Credit: © Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays escape The Trop with a split

Given how much of a cursed hellhole The Trop is and the amount of bad experiences we’ve had there at the past, coming out of there with a split in a four-game series is a huge win. Take it and run.

Things worth mentioning…

  • To be honest, heading into it, this really didn’t look like a game the Blue Jays would win. They were starting Tanner Roark against Blake Snell, Tampa Bay’s ace. But Roark was OK for the Jays, going five innings and scattering three earned runs. You always like for your starter to go six, but Roark was good enough and gave the Jays a chance to win on Monday.
  • The offence predictably didn’t get much going off of Snell (two runs over five-and-two-thirds) but they worked him hard enough that he wasn’t able to go deep into the game. That was key because it meant the Rays had to dig into their broken-down, taxed bullpen. In the seventh inning, Santiago Espinal drew a two-out walk off of Edgar Garcia, who then handed the ball over to Aaron Loup. Cavan Biggio would reach base on catcher interference (this, amazingly, happened twice in the game) and then Randal Grichuk hit a go-ahead three-run homer.

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  • You have to give credit to Espinal for keeping the inning alive for the top of the order in this situation. The bottom of the order had given the Blue Jays nothing all series (they went 7-for-41 and three of those hits were from Biggio when he was inexplicably batting eighth on Friday) but this clutch walk from Espinal set the table for the top of the order.
  • Thomas Hatch ended up with the win as he pitched a couple of scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh. The most hilarious part of the game was his stone-faced reaction to Grichuk giving the team the lead with that bomb.

  • Some other performances worth mentioning… Cavan Biggio was huge again on Monday, going 2-for-4 with a key double in the ninth that drove in an insurance run. He’s now up to a .921 OPS for the season. Vlad Jr. had an RBI double in the third inning. The whole sequence was great because he came back from 0-2 down in the count by taking a couple of borderline pitches that he probably would have whiffed through a few weeks ago. He’s really coming around at the plate. And, finally, Lourdes Gurriel showed off two-way range on Monday, crushing a solo homer and making another great play defensively in the outfield.

  • But, since it’s The Trop, we couldn’t just escape with a win and a series split. Something bad had to happen. Randal Grichuk left the game in the eighth inning as a precaution with lower back tightness. Let’s hope it isn’t serious. Losing Grichuk’s bat for an extended period of time wouldn’t be ideal.