WP: Mark Buehrle – 7IP, 10H, 2ER, 3K, 2HBP
LP: Jake Arrieta – 6.1IP, 7H, 2ER, 1BB, 5K
The Toronto Blue Jays kept rolling through September with another yet victory against a young Chicago Cubs team on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre. Starter Mark Buehrle recorded a long-overdue win while Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista plated his 12th RBI of the short month.
The Blue Jays started slowly on the night, carrying a 2-0 deficit into the bottom of the 5th inning after struggling to drive in runners in key situations. Mark Buehrle, despite allowing 10 hits, did his best to limit the damage and keep the hot Blue Jays bats within striking distance. Buehrle may have received a worse fate than he deserved in the hit column, with many ground balls sneaking between infielders, but it was clear that the veteran went to battle without his best stuff on Tuesday. Now sitting at 182.0IP with three starts remaining in the season, Buehrle will need to average 6.0IP per start to reach his trademarked 200-inning plateau.
Jose Reyes drove in the first run of the game in the 5th, following a strong hustle double off the bat of Ryan Goins. Blue Jays fans deserved to see a run that inning after being forced to witness Anthony Gose attempt a “bunt” on 0-2. It went very poorly.
The deadlock lasted until the 7th inning, when the Blue Jays loaded the bases with a single from the surging Kevin Pillar, a pinch-hit single from Colby Rasmus, and a Munenori Kawasaki base on balls. Jose Bautista approached the plate in the biggest at-bat of the game, and fought back from behind in the count before turning on a pitch and lacing it down the left field line, clearing the bases.
Aaron Sanchez entered the following inning and featured dizzying movement in a clean 8th. Then came a whole lot of something that the Blue Jays have discovered in September: insurance runs. Doiner Navarro started the party with an RBI single, which was followed by a 2-RBI single from Munenori Kawasaki. Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista would tack on ground-ball RBI’s to stretch the Blue Jays lead to 9-2. Rookie Daniel Norris entered to mop up in the top of the 9th with a strong inning of his own.
This win moves the Blue Jays within 4.5 games of the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals in the AL Wild Card Race, as they have also leapfrogged the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. The Blue Jays have struggled to gain ground in the race despite their winning ways, so they will look to continue chipping away at the deficit on Wednesday night. The Chicago Cubs will send Kyle Hendricks, perhaps their most effective starter, to the mound, but he will be tasked with stopping one of the hottest lineups in all of baseball.
MVJ: Jose Bautista. The Blue Jays star has decided “I am going to the playoffs, whether you all come with me or not”. Bautista continued to carry the team as he has all through September, and shows no signs of slowing down now.
Tomorrow’s Probable Starters (7:07ET, Rogers Centre):
TOR: Drew Hutchison (9-11, 4.47ERA)
CHC: Kyle Hendricks (6-1, 2.02ERA)