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Blue Jays earn minority win, close within one of Royals

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8. 7. 11. 39. Final

The Toronto Blue Jays have clawed their way back into the ALCS, but it wasn’t pretty. Toronto overcame a less-than-stellar start from Marcus Stroman and some ugly bullpen work with a huge day from their offense, led by Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Goins. Game four will kick off just after 4:00ET on Tuesday with R.A. Dickey on the mound. It’s progress, but there are still some holes to plug on this boat.

Game Notes:

  • KC wasted little time, as Alcides Escobar slapped the second pitch of the game to Jose Bautista. Bautista took a very ill-advised play on the ball, allowing it to bounce behind him and allow Escobar to advance to third. He’d then score on a Ben Zobrist grounder, but that run was somewhat of a gimme. Kevin Pillar broke out the old Superman routine again in the first, though, so Bautista’s gaffe was quickly forgotten.
  • Toronto broke through in the bottom of the second against a clearly-rattled Johnny Cueto. Ryan Goins had his first moment, driving in two on a beautiful slide at home from Kevin Pillar before Josh Donalson drove in another to push the score to 3-1. The chants of “Cueto, Cueto” rained down.
  • Then: Tulo time. After an Encarnacion single and Colabello walk, Troy Tulowitzki hit one higher than the CN Tower over the wall in straightaway centre. After a Martin walk, he’d be doubled in by Pillar to make it 7-2. At that point, it was beyond obvious: the fans had gotten to Cueto, and his day was done.
  • With Kris Medlen in, there was no mercy. Josh Donaldson blasted one in to the second deck to make it a 9-2 ball game.
  • Stroman continued to toe the line between struggling and just scraping by in the fifth. He allowed the Royals to pull back to 9-4, but frankly, it could have been worse early in the game. They weren’t fooled by his stuff.
  • Ryan Goins would stay hot with a solo job in that same inning to break the Jays in to double digits. Great to see after the media circus he dealt with yesterday. He also got it done with the glove, making a spectacular play in the seventh to rob Lorenzo Cain of a hit.
  • Tulowitzki got booted after the seventh, oddly enough, for arguing with the home plate umpire. Per 2015 tradition, it was a bit of an ump show. Still, not great to earn an enemy when you’re up 10-4.
  • A little salt in the wound late, with Jose Bautista driving in Ben Revere after he finally reached base. Revere didn’t look comfortable in the dugout, though.
  • The bullpen gave us zero reason for optimism on the night, however. Hendriks was hit with some poor batted-ball luck, but after Gibbons chose to hand off to Osuna in the bottom of the ninth, it still went south. With Loup and Hawkins already on the outside looking in, things are getting messy.

A+. The second baseman put up three RBI on the night, quickly squashing the storylines from game two. If he can even stay <em>warm</em> at the plate, let alone hot, he’ll really help this lineup tick.. Game Ball. <strong>Ryan Goins</strong>. OFFENSE

C+. Stroman certainly picked the right night to bring his C-game. He struggled with control and never seemed to be a step ahead of opposing batters, but made the most of it. Pitching in to the seventh inning saved some valuable pitches from the limited bullpen arms. We can safely assume this is just a bump in the road, and thankfully, the Jays bats were enough to cover for him.. . <strong>Marcus Stroman</strong>. STARTING PITCHER

<b>Sanchez, Lowe. Hendriks, Osuna</b>. BULLPEN . F. Sanchez took over for Stroman in the seventh and looked strong once again, then handed off to <strong><a href=. Game Ball

Next: Blue Jays claim ambidextrous pitcher off waivers

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