Jays’ victory pushes Twins off Wildcard Pedestal


With the Jays stuck in a three-way tie with the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles for the second American League wildcard spot, the Jays looked to continue their two-game winning streak against the Twins.

Taking the hill was 2015 inter-team all-star Marco Estrada who’s brandishing a 3.53 ERA in 16 starts this season. He was exceptional once again facing Phil Hughes, providing the Jays ample chance to push the Twins out of the wildcard spot as they did with their victory 3-1.

39. 1. 2. Final. 3

Game Notes: 

  • Estrada needed just 16 pitches to retire the Twins in the first inning, following his colleague David Price‘s example set just a day ago. Estrada continued his dominance in the second, needing only seven pitches to retire the trio of Twins consecutively.
  • In the home half, Josh Donaldson wasted no time in welcoming Phil Hughes to the game with a solo-long bomb to the second deck in left-field to make it 1-0. This marks Donaldson’s 28th home-run of the season, just one shy of his career high mark.
  • Following Donaldson’s first inning lead, Troy Tulowitzki stepped into an inside fastball, driving into the second deck in the left field line to make it 2-0.
  • After continuing his perfect streak through three innings, Estrada allowed his first hit of the game on an infield hit off his calf in the 4th inning. He also allowed consecutive walks to Trevor Plouffe and Miguel Sano, loading the bases for the dangerous Torii Hunter who subsequently drove in the Twins’ first run on a sacrifice fly to Jose Bautista. Estrada ended the inning with some flash, striking out Eddie Rosario on a nasty 12-6 curveball.

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  • The Jays threatened in the bottom of the fourth with Edwin Encarnacion and Ryan Goins on the corners and Kevin Pillar unable to drive either of them in.
  • Estrada continued to cruise through six innings keeping the score locked at 2-1 for the Jays. After six, Estrada had retired eight straight still limiting the Twins to the one infield single.
  • The Jays finally cashed in in the 6th inning as Dioner Navarro drove in Edwin Encarnacion who hit a one-out double. The 3-1 lead cemented the end of Phil Hughes’s night.
  • The Jays continued to threaten with Goins ripping another single and Pillar walking to load the bases, but the struggling newcomer Ben Revere was unable to cash in on the opportunity, leaving the score locked at 3-1.
  • Estrada allowed a two-out double in the 7th, ending his night with a final line of 6.2 IP, 2H, ER, 2 BB, 5K with 68 of his 103 pitches going for strikes.  A solid outing to say the least.
  • Mark Lowe took over in relief and got the only batter he faced to fly out to Ben Revere. Aaron Sanchez, the new set-up man, came on in the 8th and retired the Twins in a perfect 1-2-3 inning. Roberto Osuna did the exact same thing in the 9th, allowing only a walk before clinching the victory, 3-1 Blue Jays.

A. . Marco Estrada. Toronto Blue Jays. STARTING PITCHING

What more could you ask for from Marco Estrada. Through six plus innings of work, Estrada allowed just two hits–only one to the outfield– and maintained exceptional command outside of one stretch where he walked two in the fourth inning.

More assuring, Estrada had a lot more than his changeup in tonight’s outing. Across his career, Estrada has averaged 5.44 inches of vertical break according to Brooks Baseball on his curveball. This season, he’s averaging 7.05 of sink, potentially pointing to its increased effectiveness. Undeniably, it was working well tonight.

Mark Lowe. Toronto Blue Jays. RELIEVERS . A.

It wasn’t easy to give out a “reliever of the game” tonight as all three were exceptional. For the reason of personal redemption, this writer elected to give it to Mark Lowe. After earning the loss and getting lit in his first outing as a Jay, Lowe came in with a man on second and two out only to finish his job with ease inducing a fly-out to Ben Revere. It was nothing special, but in a high leverage situation, it was just what the Jays needed.

Aaron Sanchez and closer Roberto Osuna finished off the game for the Jays, a strong improvement over the previous months. With only 3.1 IP from the bullpen in the last two games, they should be plenty strong if the Jays need them in the last two games of the series or in the Bronx this weekend against the Yankees.

. Ryan Goins. Toronto Blue Jays. HITTING . B+

You don’t often see hitter of the game going to Ryan Goins but with his confidence and seemingly new approach at the plate, tonight he was quite deserving. His final batting line of 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk is impressive for a player at the bottom of the order, especially when it means turning it over for the likes of Tulowitzki and Donaldson.

Outside of Goins the Jays did what the Jays do: They hit home runs. Both Donaldson and Tulowitzki hit solo-homers to take command of the game before Navarro drove in Encarnacion on a timely double to left-centre field. It wasn’t the average five runs Jays’ fans are accustomed to, but was exactly what the doctor ordered.