Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jays won the first game of this series against the Houston Astros behind a shaky start by Mark Buerhle.
W- Buerhle (2-0) L- Oberholtzer (0-2) SV- Santos (3)
In the bottom of the first Jose Bautista launches his 4th bomb of the year to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Dioner Navarro hits a bloop that benefited from the Rogers Centre turf bounce. It hopped over the head of Robbie Grossman to drive in Edwin Encarnacion from 1st to make it 2-0.
Mark Buehrle was not as stellar as he was against Tampa Bay last time out. The young Astros hitters were all over him to the tune of 8 hits. He managed to pitch in and out of trouble for 5 1/3 innings. His final line: 108 pitches, 5.1 innings, 8 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 3 strike outs. This brings his ERA all the way up to 0.64.
On the other side of the pitching mound, Brett Oberholtzer had Jays hitters off balance for 5 1/3 innings. He looked good, and was never really in any trouble save for back to back walks to Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion that led to him being pulled from the game. His final line: 92 pitches, 5.1 innings, 3 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 hits. The score board doesn’t really reflect how effective Oberholtzer was. Blue Jay hitters didn’t make much solid contact on anything other than Bautista’s first inning homerun.
In the 6th inning, Bautista was caught napping and was picked off at second. The Astros’ youngsters saved themselves a run because the next batter, Dioner Navarro laced his second hit- a solid double- off the left center field wall to drive in Encarnacion from first for the second time this game to take a 3-1 lead. Had Bautista been paying attention, the Jays would have scored 2 with two outs.
Aaron Loup started the 7th inning with back to back walks to Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Villar. That’s not a good sign considering I have predicted he will be an All Star this season. The Astros immediately executed a double steal. Then Jose Altuve struck again. He already had 3 hits- all on the first pitch of each at bat. His 4th at bat in the 7th drove in the Astros 2nd run of the game.
Brett Cecil came in the 8th and gave up a walk to L.J. Hoes, a double to Matt Dominguez and then made a great play on a comeback dribbler. Cecil pounced on it and made a quick shovel to Navarro to catch Hoes trying to score. And, once again there was a review of the play to see if Hoes was actually safe. The call stood. Is this whole replay thing getting a bit much? Do other sports have THIS MUCH?! (You can weigh in below) Anyway, Cecil then struck his way out of the inning, getting Dexter Fowler.
Bautista and Encarnacion walk back to back again to start the 8th. We might be saying that a lot this season. The Blue Jays failed to score in this inning and went 1-7 with RISP. For comparison: Houston went 0-14 with RISP
Sergio Santos came on in the 9th for the save and mowed down the three batters he faced striking out the side.
Blue Jays improve to 4-4 on the young 2014 season. They’ll take on Houston in game 2 of this series tomorrow evening.
NOTE: The Blue Jays bullpen is picking up where they left off last season. Loup, Steve Delabar, Cecil and Santos combined for 1 hit, 1 ER and 7 strikeouts.