Game Recap: Blue Jays trounce Orioles to give Mark Buehrle his 200th win
Thursday’s home opener was supposed to be a time of celebration for the reigning American League East champion Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately, the Toronto Blue Jays had different plans and turned a 12-5 rout into Mark Buehrle‘s 200th career victory.
Buehrle got his 2015 season off to a good start. Needing just 84 pitches over 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 8 hits and a walk, striking out just a single batter. Although he had his trouble with Jays’ nemesis Adam Jones (solo home run and a double), Buehrle was aided by three double-play balls on the afternoon.
The Blue Jays wasted no time in putting runs on the board in this game, putting up a 4-spot in the first inning off of Orioles starter Bud Norris. Toronto added another run in the third, and then blew the game wide open in the top of the fourth with a 5-run burst to take a 10-1 lead.
Toronto’s offense was a well-balanced machine, paced by three hits apiece by Jose Reyes (3 for 5, 1 run, 1 RBI), Jose Bautista (3 for 3, 4 runs, 2 RBI), Josh Donaldson (2 for 3, 3 RBI), Dalton Pompey (2 doubles, 2 RBI), and Dioner Navarro (3 RBI). Justin Smoak and Devon Travis chipped in a pair of hits each as well.
The offensive explosion also allowed the Blue Jays to utilize some of the other arms in their bullpen, with Liam Hendriks, Colt Hynes, and Marco Estrada all seeing action.
- After starting the season with a rough series in New York (0-12, 8 strikeouts), Jose Bautista took a few extra cuts in the cage before the game. It paid off, with the right-fielder going 3 for 3 with pair of RBI and 4 runs scored. Bautista spent so much time running the bases he had to leave late in the game due to cramping, but he’s not expected to miss any time because of it.
- After starting the first three games behind the plate, Russell Martin got the day off with Dioner Navarro starting at catcher. Navarro had a great relationship with Mark Buehrle in 2014 and it’s interesting that he was on hand for Buehrle’s first start in 2015. It’ll be worth watching to see if that becomes a trend throughout the season.
- Marco Estrada made his first appearance in a Blue Jays uniform and was greeted in a very familiar way in the bottom of the ninth. After leading all of Major League Baseball in home runs allowed (29) in 2014 and having trouble keeping the ball in the yard this spring, Estrada surrendered a solo shot to Jonathan Schoop, the first batter his faced in 2015.
- Kevin Pillar continues to earn his keep in Michael Saunders absence, stealing extra bases from Chris Davis in the bottom of the 6th inning and picking up his second outfield assist of the season by nailing Adam Jones at 2nd base.
Next: Blue Jays Minor League Report: 2015 Opening Day