So much for a scheduled loss! Excellent relief pitching and homers from the bottom of the order help the Blue Jays pull off a comeback win in Houston
Photo credit:© Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 year ago
It’s starting to become evident that there’s no such thing as an easy win over the Blue Jays.
Friday night’s series-opener in Houston really looked like a mismatch on paper. You have Justin Verlander and his 0.69 ERA looking for the third no-hitter against the Blue Jays of his career and, on the other side, you have long-reliever Ross Stripling making a spot start for the injured Hyun Jin Ryu. On top of that, the Blue Jays are also shorthanded, as Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen are on the Injured List and George Springer wasn’t in the lineup because of that hit-by-pitch on Wednesday night in Boston.
All things considered, nobody would blame you for looking at Friday’s game and calling it a scheduled loss.
After a clean first two innings, the Astros finally got to Stripling in the third inning as the top of their order got their second at-bats in. Stripling held the Astros to three runs in what could have been an explosive inning and then had a three-up, three-down inning in the fourth after the Blue Jays scored to put the game at 3-1.
The bottom of Toronto’s lineup got to Verlander in the top of the fifth inning. Santiago Espinal drilled a homer to left field to bring the Blue Jays to within one run, and then, just as he had put the Home Run Jacket on, Bradley Zimmer tied the game with a homer of his own.
From there, Toronto’s bullpen absolutely dominated. Trent Thornton threw two scoreless innings and then Adam Cimber and Tim Mayza each had scoreless innings to set the table for the top of the order in the top of the ninth inning.
Vladdy Jr. led things off with a single, but Astros reliever Hector Neris was able to get Lourdes Gurriel to pop out and Zack Collins to fly out. With Vladdy still on first, Matt Chapman came up and smashed a double between the left and centre fielders that rolled to the wall. Vladdy got on his horse and chugged all the way home, putting Toronto in the lead for the first time all game.
Jordan Romano came into the game in the ninth inning and picked up his seventh save of the season and his 31st consecutive save all told. He allowed a pair of singles to make things interesting but Romano racked up three swinging strikeouts to lock down the win.
The Blue Jays are now 9-5 on the season, alone in first place in the American League.
Next up, Alek Manoah will take the mound against Jose Urquidy in a game that could solidify yet another series win for Toronto against a quality opponent.
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