The A-Team Returns – and so does their winning ways


Oct 2, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins (17) slides into third base as he hits a 2-RBI triple against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

21. 8. 39. Final. 4

The Toronto Blue Jays rolled out their regular lineup in Friday night’s win against the Tampa Bay Rays, with one welcome return: Troy Tulowitzki.

Tulowitzki’s return is a welcome sight for the Blue Jays. After being sidelined with a fractured left shoulder blade for nearly 3 weeks, the Jays’ star shortstop contributed in his first game back, starting a double play as well as hitting a single and a double. He also scored a run.

Mark Buehrle received the start and was rolling along through four innings. Things fell apart in the fifth, though. Buehrle gave up a popup double that dropped in no-man’s land. A bunt later, Luke Maile hit an RBI single to tie the game. After hitting Brandon Guyer with a pitch for the second time that night, Buehrle gave up a three-run homer to Mikie Mahtook to give the Rays a 4-1 lead.

But Toronto’s offence isn’t the best in the MLB for no reason. They had hit Tampa’s starter Erasmo Ramirez well, but were struggling to cash runners in up until the sixth. Russell Martin and Tulowitzki singled to set up Pillar’s RBI double. Tampa Bay went to their bullpen, bringing in left-hander Enny Romero to face Ryan Goins, who promptly hit a beautiful 2-run triple to right field. A sacrifice fly from Ben Revere later, the Blue Jays quickly took a 5-4 lead.

The Jays poured more on in the seventh. Edwin Encarnacion added a long homer to dead centre in the seventh. The next batter, Chris Colabello, tripled. The play was contested because the ball hit the catwalk on the roof, and the Jays coaches thought it may have been a homerun. However, the play stood and it didn’t matter, because Martin then homered to make it 8-4.

Buehrle bounced back for a clean sixth and even got two outs in the seventh before being lifted.

Mark LoweAaron SanchezBrett Cecil  and Roberto Osuna pitched clean outings to close out the game.

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Game Notes:

  • Buehrle continued to chase a pretty incredible pitching record: 200 innings for 15 straight seasons. He threw 6.2 innings tonight to pull within 2 innings from that goal. John Gibbons has mentioned Buehrle could pitch out of the bullpen on Sunday to get there.
  • Josh Donaldson is almost for sure going to win MVP this season regardless, but it would be cool to end an elite season with a .300 average. His 2 hits tonight rose his batting average to .301.
  • Goins’ triple in the sixth was his fourth of the season, the most on the team.
  • Encarnacion’s homerun was the 119th of the season for the trio of Donaldson-Jose Bautista-Encarnacion, which tied the 1998 trio of Jose Canseco-Carlos Delgado-Shawn Green for the record by any three players in franchise history.
  • Pillar made another great catch in right-centre field in the seventh, robbing Maile of a double.
  • The win is number 93 on the year, putting them half a game up on the Kansas City Royals for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, pending the Royals’ game tonight.

“B”. Buehrle had pretty good stuff tonight. He had one bad inning – well, it was really just the Mahtook homerun that was bad – but he had a good changeup and worked his way out of tough situations, as he always does. All-in-all, a good start for Buehrle.. . Mark Buehrle. STARTING PITCHING

Lowe, Sanchez, Cecil and Osuna all were perfect in relief of Buehrle, but Cecil has just been so lights-out, it’s incredible. He struck out both of the batters he faced tonight – he’s struck out 22 of the last 29 batters he’s faced. Nearly unhittable. But all four were tonight, which is a good sign.. . Brett Cecil. “RELIEVER” . “A+”

. Everyone. “OFFENCE” . “B”. This game was absolutely a team effort. Six different Blue Jays had multi-hit efforts and three of them had an multi-RBI game. Goins’ two-run triple was probably the most clutch, though, pulling the Jays even with the Rays after being down 4-1. But like most games, the Jays’ offence is a total team effort distributed through the entire lineup.

MVJ: Ryan Goins