Toronto Blue Jays ride Osuna to victory in series opener


The Toronto Blue Jays took the series opener over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday at Tropicana Field, surviving another unstable bullpen performance to earn the 8-5 win.  Dioner Navarro, Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista all went yard as part of another offensive outburst.

Starter Drew Hutchison earned the win to move to 7-1, but that record couldn’t represent the truth any less than it does.  Hutchison ran into another high pitch count on Monday and lasted just 5.0 innings, leaving a tired bullpen exposed once again.  Thankfully for the Toronto Blue Jays, Roberto Osuna shut down the Rays in the 8th and 9th to collect the save.  Toronto escaped this one alive, but immediate changes remain necessary in the ‘pen.

21. 8. 39. Final. 5

Game Notes:

  • Josh Donaldson received a regular day of rest for the Blue Jays, which is understandable when you consider his workload thus far.  Other regulars joining Donaldson on the bench were Russell Martin, Justin Smoak and Ryan Goins.
  • Tampa Bay opened the scoring by manufacturing a run, which is something they’ve done very well in recent years.  A single, stolen base and sac fly led to an RBI single off the bat of David DeJesus.  Hutchison was slow out of the gates again as he struggled to locate his fastball, limit his pitches or put away hitters late in the count.

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  • Dioner Navarro broke through for Toronto in the following frame with a hard double down the left field line.  He’s been making some solid contact as of late, and a surge from the switch-hitting catcher could be another boost to the Jays (or another team…).  After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Chris Colabello drove Navarro in with an infield dribbler.
  • A strange situation in the early innings as a power surge knocked out a bank of lights at Tropicana Field.  Memo to the MLB:  Montreal would be happy to keep the lights on.
  • Hutchison continued to shuffle his feet through the second and third (63 pitches through 2.0 IP), dropping the Blue Jays to a 3-1 deficit.  Home runs from Dioner Navarro and Jose Reyes would draw them back even.

    Jose Bautista kept the home run parade going in the sixth with a monstrous shot of his own to left field, his 15th on the season and eighth in June.

  • Toronto revved back up in the sixth as Chris Colabello pounded a double off the left field wall to score Edwin Encarnacion.  Ezequiel Carrera followed that with an RBI single to score Navarro, giving Carrera a surprising 16 RBIs on the year.
  • Logan Forsythe got one back for Tampa in the seventh with a solo shot off Todd Redmond, which was followed up by a standup triple by Steven Souza.
  • Danny Valencia continues to be an extremely valuable role player.  His 8th-inning single scored Carrera to pad the lead at 8-5, and few hitters are hotter against the southpaws.
  • The most pivotal moment of the game may have come on the final pitch of the eighth inning with the bases loaded, two out and a 3-2 count.  Roberto Osuna blew a 99 MPH fastball past Nick Franklin to escape.
  • D+. Coming off a night that was rough on the bullpen, Toronto needed much more from Drew Hutchison.  His road woes continued as some poor fastball control caused his pitch count to balloon early on.  Through 5.0 innings pitched, Hutchison allowed nine hits while striking out six and walking two.<p>To his credit, Hutchison buckled down and kept the Blue Jays bats within striking distance.  Something needs to happen to balance out these home-and-away splits, however, as the young righty is too talented to be performing like this every second outing.</p>. Game Ball. <b>Drew Hutchison</b>. STARTING PITCHING

    HITTING . A. Navarro finished a triple short of the cycle on Monday with his one out being a deep fly ball to the warning track.  The catcher went 3-for-4 with 1 RBI and could see an uptick in his playing time as <strong><a href=. Game Ball. <b>Dioner Navarro</b>

    C-. Loup entered the game to start the bottom of the sixth, and frankly, did nothing.  The only two batters he faced reached on a single and walk, limiting Loup’s outing to nine pitches and zero outs.  Thankfully, Todd “The Janitor” Redmond was there to mop up the mess with a strikeout and two fly outs.<p>It didn’t last for Redmond, though, as he allowed a home run, triple and double in the seventh which let Tampa pull within two.  <strong><a href=. Game Ball. <b>Aaron Loup, Todd Redmond, Liam Hendriks, Roberto Osuna</b>. BULLPEN

    MVJ: Roberto Osuna

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