Blue Jays Game Recap: Strong start from Hutchison wasted by bullpen
Coming into Thursday’s series opener with the Houston Astros, Drew Hutchison had managed to put up a 3-0 record despite an ERA north of six and a general inability to get past the fifth inning. Sometimes baseball is like that, and a pitcher will win games he really has no right to win, and vice versa.
Unfortunately for Hutchison and the Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday was one of those vice versa nights.
Hutchison gave the Blue Jays six strong innings, allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out nine Astros hitters. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays staked Hutch to a early lead with back-to-back home runs by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning. However, as has been the case quite a few times this season, Toronto’s bullpen was unable to hold a 4-2 lead.
Hutchison gave way to Aaron Loup in the seventh, and that was when the wheels fell off. Jason Castro led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, which was followed by a Chris Carter walk. Back-to-back doubles from Preston Tucker and Jonathan Villar plated three runs to give Houston their first lead of the game, all without a single out being recorded by Loup.
The Astros would tack on an insurance run later in the seventh, this time with Roberto Osuna on the mound. With Villar now at third, and still belonging to Loup. John Gibbons opted to intentionally walk Jose Altuve in order to put the double-play possibility into play. However, he failed to realize that Altuve would not stay at first and the diminuitive Altuve immediately stole second. Ryan Goins dropped the throw, but thinking he had it, allowed the run to score from third with the ball literally two feet behind him.
The rest they say is history, as the Blue Jays were unable to generate any offense off of Pat Neshek and Chad Qualls to close out the loss. Toronto dropped to 17-19 overall and 8-12 on the road.
The Blue Jays mustered four runs on seven hits on the night, led by the home runs by Bautista and Encarnacion. Devon Travis added an RBI double in the top of the third inning, and hitting machine Chris Colabello added a pair of hits on the evening.
The Blue Jays will look to even the series on Friday night, when they send R.A. Dickey to the mound to face Dallas Keuchel
Toronto Blue Jays
- What a great outing from Hutchison. It looked like the pitch count was going to haunt him after Drew threw 27 pitches in the first. However be buttoned things up from there, following up with innings of 15, 18, 6, 16, and 16 to close out his night in the sixth inning. This marked just the third time in seven starts he’s managed six or more innings.
- It was a tough night for former Blue Jays Colby Rasmus and Jake Marisnick. The pair recorded seven of the Astros 13 strike-outs on the evening, with Marisnick taking the golden sombrero.
- The first Houston run of the game was a free gift courtesy of Tal’s Hill in the first inning. Luis Valbuena hit a blast to straight-away center field and Kevin Pillar looked to have a bead on it. However, as he approached the hill, Pillar seemingly gave up on the ball a bit, perhaps because he wasn’t sure of when he was going to get to the oddity. Instead of a sac fly to center and pushing Altuve to third, the ball dropped in for an RBI double.
- After the late night in Baltimore on Wednesday, and the subsequent flight to Houston, John Gibbons opted to catch Josh Thole in this one, and plans for Russell Martin to catch Dickey on Friday.
Next: Blue Jays prospect John Stilson is on the road to recovery