After a disappointing 8th inning in yesterday’s game, the now last place Blue Jays were all business this afternoon in Minnesota. Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson went back to back to start the game in a three run-first inning, the first time that the Blue Jays have gone back to back to start a game since 2006 when Alex Rios and Frank Catalanatto did it. Marcus Stroman took the hill looking to rebound after a less than stellar start against the Rays his last time out. Stroman looked comfortable and in control, and he pitched into the 8th inning, which eased the pressure on the struggling bullpen, which has allowed 27 of 62 inherited runners to score this year.
Things got heated again for the Blue Jays in the 5th inning when Twins starter Phil Hughes threw two pitches at Josh Donaldson, which prompted John Gibbons to exit the dugout, argue with the homeplate umpire, and get ejected again. In that same 5th inning, Kevin Pillar continued to dazzle in the outfield with another diving catch, taking away what looked like a sure extra base hit from Brian Dozier and kept Kurt Suzuki, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, from scoring on the play.
Michael Saunders continued to swing a hot bat this afternoon going two for three, and scored a run. Roberto Osuna came in with two outs in the 8th inning and retired the batter on one pitch, ending the threat that started with Stroman surrendering back to back singles. Stroman gave up just three hits, two walks, and struck out three over seven and two thirds innings. Osuna got the four out save, and the Jays took three of four from the Twins.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
In the 8th inning Danny Santana singled, sending Kurt Suzuki, who had just record this 1000th career hit, to second base with nobody out. This had a WPA of .122.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The Twins threatened in the 8th inning, with back to back singles from Suzuki and Santana to start the inning. Brian Dozier then hit a ball on the ground to Josh Donaldson at third, who turned a double play by stepping on the bag and throwing across the diamond to Justin Smoak, with a WPA of -.236.
The longball was the saving grace for the Blue Jays this afternoon, as they continued to be unable to produce with runners in scoring position. They were 0 for 8 today with runners in scoring position, and left seven runners on base. In Saturday’s loss, the Jays left five runners on base. But it’s not all bad news, as the Jays are starting to be more consistent all the way through the lineup. Russel Martin and Edwin Encarnacion were the only two Blue Jays who went without a hit in Sunday’s ballgame.
The Blue Jays will leave Minnesota and head to New York to prepare for a three game set against the Yankees starting on Tuesday. The Blue Jays will send R.A. Dickey to the hill, who is 2-5 on the year, to face Nathan Eovaldi, who is 4-2 on the year with a 4.44 ERA.
Lead Photo: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports