Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays take the long road, reward Estrada’s dominance

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May 19, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada (25) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada (25) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /
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It took longer than they’d planned, but the Toronto Blue Jays made sure to not waste another strong start from Marco Estrada with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Troy Tulowitzki drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning after falling just short of a home run in his at-bat prior. The single, his first hit of the day, scored Ezequiel Carrera who was pinch-running for Edwin Encarnacion.

Encarnacion launched a two-run home run into the second deck in the sixth inning to open the Blue Jays’ scoring. The Blue Jays’ designated hitter was 3-for-5 on the day.

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Estrada pitched an absolute gem, allowing just two runs (one earned) over eight innings on 104 pitches. Estrada struck out nine batters on the day with just one walk, throwing his changeup as well as he’s done all year. The right-hander entered the game receiving the lowest run support of all American League starting pitchers.

Ervin Santana was very strong for the Twins, as well, also pitching eight innings. Santana allowed two earned runs on four hits, striking out five.

Roberto Osuna entered in relief to pitch the ninth inning and force extras without allowing a base runner. Needing just 11 pitches in the inning, he returned to pitch the 10th with another clean frame.

Joe Biagini was given the save opportunity in the bottom of the 11th. Danny Santana reached base, but left for an attempted steal early and Biagini held the ball, turning to second base just in time to throw him out before striking out Brian Dozier to end the game.

Toronto was working with a revamped lineup on Thursday night with Jose Bautista batting in the leadoff spot and Justin Smoak hitting cleanup. This idea came from the players themselves, as Martin, Bautista, Donaldson, and Encarnacion reportedly approached the coaching staff last week to suggest the change.

Aaron Sanchez (3-1, 3.29 ERA) is scheduled to face Tyler Duffey (1-2, 1.85 ERA) on Friday night.

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