Sep 17, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada (25) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
With the Jays needing a victory Thursday evening in Atlanta to secure a winning road trip, Marco Estrada was simply dominant against a weak Braves offence. Estrada pitched 8.0 shutout innings, giving up only 3 hits and 2 walks. In his most recent outings, Estrada has struggled to keep the ball in the park, but tonight his fastball control was back, keeping pitches on the corners and away from the middle of the plate. The fastball was certainly complimented by his great changeup, which resulted in numerous lazy fly balls. Oh, and he added a hit in his 3 at bats.
At the plate, the Jays leaned on the long ball. Edwin Encarnacion got things going by extending his on-base streak with a deep drive to left centre in the fourth, followed by a Cliff Pennington 3 run shot. Pennington has looked much better at the plate in the past week, and while he won’t ever be the same threat that Troy Tulowitzki presents to opposing pitchers, he sure is filling in nicely.
The veteran infielder is making Alex Anthopoulos look really good. After the fourth, the Jays bats were mainly quiet, until the top of the ninth when Josh Donaldson cranked an opposite field solo homer to deep right center. This should be enough to quiet the small crowd that was beginning to call ‘slump’ with the AL MVP favorite. Five runs were plenty for Estrada and the Jays tonight to head back to Toronto on a winning note.