Streaking Blue Jays clinch series with 9-7 victory against Twins

Bevan Hamilton
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Aug 5, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a grand slam against Minnesota Twins in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another influx of offence for the Toronto Blue Jays in their 9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion all homered – Bautista’s being a grand slam – and the offence picked up another rough outing from Drew Hutchison to clinch a series victory against Minnesota.

All Toronto’s runs came via the homerun and obviously, the hitters are of no concern to the team right now. And although the Jays’ pitching has been great since the all-star break, Hutchison’s performance this season has to be concerning for a team in the midst of a playoff run where every game matters.

Nonetheless, a win is a win and let’s take a look at the highlights.

7. 2. Final. 9. 39

Game Notes:

  • Hutchison got off to a rough start against the Twins, giving up a leadoff single to Aaron Hicks and a one-out walk to Joe Mauer. Miguel Sano promptly singled in Hicks and the next batter, Trevor Plouffe, doubled in a pair to put Minnesota up 3-0 early.
  • Interestingly, Plouffe took off for third during the next at-bat and Hutchison easily picked him off.
  • But Toronto’s thunderous offence responded immediately. Donaldson hit a 2-run homerun in the bottom of the first, scoring Troy Tulowitzki‘s walk. It was Donaldson’s 29th dinger, tying him for his career high. Welcome to the bigs, Tyler Duffey.
  • Also on that homerun, Donaldson extended his hitting streak against Minnesota to 23 games, becoming one of 23 players in history to do so.
  • In the second, Hutchison got into more trouble, giving up a leadoff walk and a single with one out. But Tulowitzki and Ryan Goins turned a beautiful double play to escape the inning.

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  • The Jays struck again in the bottom of the second. Goins and Kevin Pillar led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Ben Revere laid down a sacrifice bunt, Tulowitzki struck out on a questionable called third strike. Donaldson walked to load the bases for Bautista, who didn’t disappoint with a no-doubter grand slam. It was the Blue Jays’ third grand slam of the season and the fifth of Bautista’s career.
  • Duffey made his major league debut for Minnesota and the Blue Jays beat him up, chasing him after just two innings. The 24-year-old rookie didn’t show much control in his debut and the Toronto hitters saw the ball well coming out of his hand. He gave up six runs on five hits and walked two. He struck out one.
  • The offence kept coming in the fourth for Toronto. Revere led off the inning with a single, his first hit as a Blue Jay. Two batters later, Bautista walked and then Encarnacion chauffered them all home with his 20th homerun of the season.
  • The Twins responded in the fifth via a two-run single by Mauer, quickly followed by a two-run homerun by Sano.
  • Liam Hendriks came on in relief of Hutchison and struck out the side around a double, which was the first hit he’s given up since the All-Star break.
  • Brett Cecil threw a perfect seventh inning with a couple strikeouts. Notably, it was Cecil’s 14th straight scoreless outing after some early-season struggles. That’s 13 shutout innings for the reliever.
  • The Minnesota Twins made the ninth inning very stressful for Jays fans. LaTroy Hawkins came on to get the save and gave up back-to-back singles to get the Jays bullpen active again. A sacrifice bunt later, the Twins had runners on second and third with one out. But Hawkins got Hicks to pop out and Brian Dozier to line out to clinch the victory.

Hutchison did not pitch well tonight, as his line suggests: 5 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO. He appeared to make an adjustment in the third after trouble in the first two innings and he pitched sharp third and fourth innings, but fell apart in the fifth. Although it’s fair to point out all four runs he gave up in that inning were unearned, his pitches looked flat. Hutchison has pitched to an ERA of 6.12 in his last seven starts. An even more concerning stat is his 1.67 WHIP during that time. He simply hasn’t pitched well all year and it may become an issue as the the playoff race heats up down the stretch.. . <strong>Drew Hutchinson</strong>. STARTING PITCHING . D

. <strong>Liam Hendriks</strong>. RELIEVER . A. Any of the Jays’ relievers tonight did a great job, but I put Hendriks here because the hit he gave up was his first since the All-Star break, a stretch of 8.1 innings. He also struck out the side and has arguably been John Gibbon’s most reliable reliever this year.

<strong>Jose Bautista</strong>. OFFENCE . A. There were several players to choose from for best hitter, but Bautista’s grand slam sure was beautiful. It came at an important moment in the game as well. After being down 3-0 before coming up to bat, the Jays pulled within one and Bautista’s slam gave Toronto a comfortable lead for the moment. It also further proves his clutch hitting abilities as the cornerstone of this team. Bautista also walked and scored two runs in the game..

MVJ: Jose Bautista

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