Offence All Smoak: Justin’s Two Homer Game Wins it for Jays
By Kaitlyn Bain
Justin Smoak got both his first and second home runs of the season tonight. He tied the game in the ninth inning with his first homer and won the game in the tenth with his walk-off home run. The Jays won the game 3-1 in the bottom of the tenth.
The only run to score on the Rangers’ side was Rougned Odor‘s leadoff home run in the first inning.
After a rough start in the first two innings where Marco Estrada battled with inconsistency and had difficulty finding the strike zone, it was smooth sailing for the righty pitcher. Estrada’s changeup was working well for him drawing swings and misses from the bewildered Texas Rangers batters. In the middle of the fifth inning, he had retired nine straight batters in a row. Estrada ended up going six innings, allowing just one run on two hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.
Jesse Chavez (1.69 ERA) entered the game in the seventh and came out again for the first batter of the eighth. He had a clean inning and a third striking out three. Brett Cecil (5.59) entered in relief of Chavez in the eighth and gave up two hits. Roberto Osuna (2.25) relieved Cecil and had a clean rest of the eighth. Joe Biagini (1.04 ERA) gave up two hits in the ninth, but with the help of some good defence, a play at the plate and a strikeout, he got out of the ninth cleanly and came back to have a three up, three down tenth.
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Martin Perez of the Rangers (3.60 ERA) pitched around his lack of command in the first four innings, falling behind hitters with three-ball counts and somehow managing to get them out. Perez went five innings, allowed four hits and three walks and did not let in a run. Not on the same page as his pitcher, Texas’s rookie catcher Brett Nicholas was coming out every pitch, if not twice a pitch to talk to Perez in the fifth, in spite of the irate jeers of the Toronto home crowd.
Jose Bautista and Darwin Barney were the only batters who did not reach base this game. Seeing Russell Martin on base twice was an encouraging sign as this is something that Martin, like a startling majority of the team, has been struggling to do this season.
Although unable to cash in runs, Donaldson had a fantastic at bat in the fifth with runners on second and third that ended the inning and chased Perez out of the game. Darwin Barney also had a great at bat in the seventh inning, seeing 15 pitches from Jake Diekman with runners on first and second. Barney also made an outstanding defensive play in the eighth, catching the ball in shallow right field and making a strong throw to Donaldson, who tagged out the running Odor, saving a run for Cecil.
The Blue Jays had runners on base in every inning except for the fourth and the eighth. They stranded eleven base runners.
Next up for the Jays is the 7:07pm start on Wednesday night against Texas for the third game in the four-game series. Aaron Sanchez (2-1 with a 2.59ERA) will take on Colby Lewis (2-0 with a 3.19ERA).