Recap: Blue Jays 4, Royals 3; Travis Goes Yard Twice as Jays Hold On For Victory

The Blue Jays’ most important trade acquisition, Francisco Liriano, made his debut tonight. Both the Jays and Liriano, who is in the midst of a below-career-average year, hope his reunion with his former Pirates teammate Russell Martin will rejuvenate his flailing season. A lead-off home run by Devon Travis gave the Jays an early lead, but they failed to capitalize on a bases-loaded, two-out opportunity. The Royals promptly got that run back when lead-off hitter Alcides Escobar reached base on an error by Darwin Barney and eventually came around to score. Royals’ starter Dillon Gee struggled with his command, surrendering walks to Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion in the third, both of whom scored. Liriano was missing his spots, but he managed to keep the ball down and that, combined with the velocity on his fastball (he hit 96 mph on the radar gun) and the movement on his slider allowed him to induce primarily ground balls. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when he started to look shaky, beginning with a mistake to Paulo Orlando that was crushed for a lead-off home run followed by a walk and a Lorenzo Cain triple to tie the game. The two teams traded outs until the top of the ninth when Devon Travis took Kelvin Herrera deep for his second home run of the game. A terrifying moment ensued moments later when Josh Donaldson was hit in the earflap by an errant changeup. Thankfully, he shook off the trainers and appeared to be alright. The Royals threatened in the bottom of the ninth to provide some drama, but the Jays held on to win their fourth game in a row.

Top Play of the Game by WPA

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Devon Travis got hold of a pitch and drilled it 373 feet over the left field wall to give the Jays a 4-3 lead and the top play of the game by WPA (.414).

Bottom Play of the Game by WPA

The Royals had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, when Paulo Orlando reached second on Darwin Barney’s second error of the game. Inexplicably, Orlando attempted to steal third and was gunned down by Russell Martin with an assist by Barney at third, providing the bottom play of the game by WPA (.-232).

Quality Start

In order for the Jays’ plan to run with a six-man rotation to keep Aaron Sanchez in the rotation to succeed, Francisco Liriano must be able to pitch well enough to give the team an opportunity to win each time he starts. He did just that tonight, giving up 3 runs (two earned) on 7 hits and two walks with five strike outs over six innings pitched.

Devo’s First Multi-Homerun Game

Devon Travis – who has simply been a revelation – went yard in both his first and last at-bat of the game, which was his first multi-homerun game of his major league career.

Up Next

The man at the centre of all the attention this week, Aaron Sanchez and his American League-leading ERA (2.71) will seek his twelfth win of the season tomorrow. The Royals will counter with lefty Danny Duffy, who threw an absolutely dominant one-hitter with 16 strike outs against the Rays his last outing. Expect Sanchez  to be good, and, if both starters perform to their season-norm, expect quite the pitchers’ duel. First pitch flies at 7:15 PM ET.

Lead Photo: Peter Aiken-USA Today Sports

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