Late clutch hits from Nathan Lukes and Danny Jansen send Toronto to the All-Star break on a winning note
By Evan Stack2 months ago
They weren’t getting no-hit, but today’s game was of a very similar nature with the lack of offence from the Toronto Blue Jays.
They entered the 9th inning trailing 3-1 with only three hits on the day, but Danny Jansen and Nathan Lukes turned the tides with two clutch late-inning hits en route to a 4-3 Blue Jays win over Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
Toronto now rolls into the All-Star break winners of five of their last six and a 50-41 record.
Things worth mentioning
Things looked bleak entering the 9th inning, as Tigers closer Alex Lange was set to face Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Matt Chapman. Lange had retired two of those three hitters during yesterday’s game, and he started today’s outing in the same fashion. Bichette – who can’t figure out Lange’s curveball – struck out swinging and Guerrero grounded out to third to bring up Chapman.
Chapman worked a walk, setting the stage for Danny Jansen to launch a game-tying two-run home run with the Blue Jays down to their final out. Lange had great success with his curveball, but he attacked Jansen with his sinkers. Yimi Garcia pitched a clean bottom half, and this game was headed to extras.
AJ Hinch opted to have Jose Cisnero pitch the top of the 10th, much to the chagrin of the Blue Jays who tagged him for five earned runs on Friday night. Due to the extensive use of the team’s bench prior to the 10th, John Schneider kept Alejandro Kirk as the ghost runner on second base. Brandon Belt was the only other bench player left, and I’m not sure how comfortable Schneider would’ve been having to use one of his pitchers, so Kirk pretty much had to be sent out to second base. Unfortunately, Daulton Varsho grounded to second to start the inning, and Kirk was gunned down at third.
The unlikeliest of heroes was due up – Nathan Lukes. Lukes slapped a double down the right field line to score Varsho all the way from first, and the Blue Jays took the lead. It was only Lukas’ fourth hit on his career, but it was undoubtedly his biggest. Newly announced All-Star Jordan Romano pitched a clean 10th, and Toronto stole a win before the break.
It wasn’t the most ideal way to round out the first half for Chris Bassitt. He allowed a runner to be in scoring position in each of his 4+ innings, part of a 4 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 0 BB’s, and 4 K’s stat line. Due to the All-Star break coming up, John Schneider elected to bring out the big guns from the bullpen to clean up the mess and keep the deficit where it was at. Trevor Richards might’ve had the most difficult job; he inherited first and second with no one out, and wound up getting out of the inning unscathed.
Tim Mayza, Erik Swanson, Garcia, and Romano combined for a stellar end of the game: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 7 Ks. Garcia specifically is worth pointing out; he has not allowed a run in nine consecutive outings after having a rough start to the season.
What’s Next: It’s time for the All-Star break! Tune into the Home Run Derby featuring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. tomorrow night at 8 PM ET on ESPN and Sportsnet.
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