The Toronto Blue Jays opened a seven game west coast road trip Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels. After having lost the last four series, it was imperative that the Blue Jays took advantage of playing the last place Angels. The Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, who pitched well Saturday against the Boston Red Sox, was given the ball in the opener and provided just the start the team needed. Happ pitched six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, three walks while striking out three batters.
The Blue Jays offence, which struggled to score in the series against the Tampa Bay Rays, finally broke through in the top of the fourth inning. Toronto scored two runs on an RBI single by Edwin Encarnacion and a sacrifice fly by Russell Martin. They added three more in the sixth on a three-run homer by Martin, and two more in the ninth on a two-run single by Devon Travis.
The Angels scored their two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run home run by shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The Blue Jays bullpen of Benoit, Grilli, and Osuna, shut the door after Happ left the game and closed out the win.
TOP PLAY OF THE GAME BY WPA
In the top of the sixth, after a lead off walk to Josh Donaldson, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to go to his bullpen with Jose Valdez. After a one out walk to Jose Bautista, Russell Martin hammered a three-run shot into the left field bullpen increasing the Jays’ win expectancy by 13.3 percentage points.
BOTTOM PLAY OF THE GAME BY WPA
Jason Grilli came into the ballgame for his regular eighth inning role and was greeted with a loud out by Mike Trout that Jose Bautista caught leaping against the wall in right. After back to back singles, Jeff Marte came to the plate representing the tying run. He proceeded to fly out to centre fielder Kevin Pillar and this lowered the Angels’ win expectancy by 5.5 percentage points. The Angels missed a huge opportunity to score in that inning, as the next batter proceeded to ground out to end the inning.
RETURN OF JOSH DONALDSON
Josh Donaldson returned to the lineup tonight, however only as the designated hitter, after missing three games due to a hip injury. He proceeded to go three for three with two doubles, walk twice and score two runs. Donaldson’s bat was sorely missed in the Jays lineup in the Tampa Bay series and seemed to provide a spark at the top of the lineup for the Blue Jays tonight.
The Blue Jays will try to make it two wins in a row as they take on the Angels Friday night in Anaheim. Toronto will send R.A. Dickey (9-14, 4.60), who hasn’t pitched since September 5th, against Jered Weaver (11-11, 5.25) who stymied the Jays at the Rogers Centre in August. First pitch is at 10:05 PM ET/ 7:05 PM PT
Lead Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports