Game 1: Friday, August 12th
Jays lose, 3-5
Losing Pitcher: Francisco Liriano
Liriano’s first start in Toronto didn’t go over as well as his last outing in Kansas City. All five runs were charged to him, including two walks that came around to score in the 3rd, two more scored on three consecutive hits in the 5th, and a solo home run in the 6th. Houston had thirteen hits, nine of which came off Liriano. This included four doubles and the home run. Evan Gattis had four hits, two of them doubles. Brett Cecil came into the game in the 8th after Ryan Tepera got one out and left two on – Cecil walked one, but managed to strand the bases loaded without anyone scoring. Scott Feldman also managed to strand the bases loaded after two hits and a walk.
The Blue Jays had two homers of their own. Both were of the solo variety, one from Michael Saunders in the 4th inning, and one from Edwin Encarnacion – the 300th of his career – in the 9th. Their only other run in the game was when Darrell Ceciliani doubled in the 3rd and scored when Josh Donaldson grounded into a double play.
Just like the night before, the Jays’ offense tallied seven hits. But this time around, seven were all they needed, as Aaron Sanchez kept the opposition to just five hits and two runs over seven innings. Both runs came in the 1st inning, driven in by a Carlos Correa double. Sanchez allowed just two more hits over the next six innings. He gave up two walks in the 3rd, but one was erased when Russell Martin threw out Jose Altuve stealing for the second time in as many days.
The Blue Jays cut Houston’s lead in half in the bottom of the 1st when Josh Donaldson hit his 28th home run of the year. Two walks and a single were all they’d get off Collin McHugh until the 6th – Edwin Ecarnacion singled, Michael Saunders bunted for a single, and with two outs Martin drove them in with a towering shot to center field.
Sanchez left the game after the 7th, with a two-run lead. Jason Grilli allowed a triple to Altuve in the 8th, but struck out the side and stranded him. Roberto Osuna gave up one hit as well, but didn’t allow a run and earned the save.
Game 3: Sunday, August 14th
JAYS WIN! 9-2
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Stroman
Stroman only gave up four hits over his 6.1 innings of work, and the Blue Jays gave him a lot of breathing room in the series finale. Devon Travis led off the bottom of the first with a double, and Josh Donaldson dropped a sac bunt that moved him to third. He scored on a Troy Tulowitzki single. The Astros would tie the game in the 2nd after a Carlos Correa hit, a HBP and a fielding error by Stroman. The Blue Jays retook the lead in the 4th after two hits and an error. Darrell Ceciliani got his first RBI with Toronto.
Tulowitzki and Russell Martin hit back-to-back home runs in the 5th, breaking the lead wide open. Edwin Encarnacion also homered, in the 7th. Houston got a home run off Stroman in the 7th, which resulted in his second earned run and his removal soon after. He earned the win, while Mike Fiers took the loss after allowing 5 runs in 4.2 innings. The Blue Jays weren’t done because in the 8th they loaded the bases with a leadoff single, walk, and two more singles (one driving in a run) off Michael Feliz. Feliz exited the game but his replacement gave up a bases-loaded walk to Donaldson, and an Encarnacion sac fly resulted in a three-run inning. Altogether the Blue Jays would have twelve hits and take four walks, while their pitchers (Stroman, Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Brett Cecil) would combine to allow six hits and not walk anybody. Not bad at all on a day where they honoured the best pitchers in team history.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- With his 46th career save on Saturday, Roberto Osuna has now tied the record for most saves in MLB history for a pitcher younger than 22
- Edwin Encarnacion is the 11th active player to hit 300 home runs
My favourite player(s) this series: Martin
It’s no secret that Russell Martin has been struggling to throw out baserunners this year. After leading the American League in caught-stealing percentage with 44.4% in 2015, he’d only thrown out seven entering this series. So imagine my surprise when he threw out Jose Altuve not once, but twice – and made it look easy.
I don’t know what it is about the Astros that always give him the opportunity for impressive catches. You may remember Game 4 of the series in Houston, when he nearly toppled into the opposing dugout chasing after a foul pop-up.
When he saw the opportunity to try again, he didn’t hesitate – rolling along the railing as he successfully caught the ball.
And that’s to say nothing of his hitting, which was a big boost to the Jays this series. With the game-winning home run on Saturday and another on Sunday, he was 1-for-2 and 2-for-3 in those games. He also had a walk in each, three runs scored and four RBI over the weekend.
Where we are now:
First place in the AL East, 0.5 games ahead of Baltimore
The bad news is – there is no bad news!
The good news is that they had a great series, the absence of two of their regular outfielders doesn’t seem to be hurting them, most of the offense is doing really well, and they’re still in first place!
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