ALDS Game 2 Preview
Not even 24 hours after the Blue Jays beat up the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS, they dug in for Game 2. The Blue Jays were flying high after a 10-1 win. Marco Estrada and the Jays offence was finally clicking to get the series started. J.A. Happ got the ball for the Jays and was looking to keep up the Cy Young worthy pitching he has been showing this breakout season. On the other side, Yu Darvish was looking to get the Rangers back on track after the rough start to the series at home. Prior to the game Devon Travis was scratched with a stiff knee. There is no further information on Travis, but expect his status to be updated on Sunday.
J.A. Happ got off to a good start but played with fire during the first couple of innings. He allowed three hits and a walk during the first pair of innings. Happ worked out of trouble with some timely pitching. He was able to use the strikeout to sit down three, in those early innings, and the strikeouts to end the 2nd inning were critical as the Rangers had runners on 1st and 2nd to open the frame.
In the top of the 2nd the Blue Jays got on the board with a two-run, 402-foot bomb from Troy Tulowitzki. Jose Bautista walked to open up the inning and then Russell Martin went down on strikes. Tulo dug in and took a 2-0 pitch deep off of Darvish. The two-run homer quickly quieted the crowd as they watched Tulo round the bases and collect his 5th RBI of the series already.
In the third inning Happ also allowed the Rangers to get a pair of base runners and threaten the Jays 2-0 lead. Ian Desmond singled on the first pitch of the inning. The next two batters hit long fly outs to Ezequiel Carrera. With two out, Rougned Odor singled on a blooper to Carrera. Again with two runners on Happ came through and got Jonathan Lucroy to ground out to second baseman Darwin Barney to end the inning. The Rangers had left six base runner on base and were batting 0-4 with runners in scoring position after three innings.
On to the bottom of the 4th where Happ really got forced into a bad situation. After quickly recording two outs Happ had to face the top of the Rangers order. Nomar Mazara got the two-out rally going with a hard hit single to right. Carlos Gomez kept things going with a single up the middle to put a pair of runners on. Ian Desmond came up and lined the ball through the infield into centre and Mazara came around to score. Happ recorded the final out and held to a 2-1 lead to end the inning.
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In the top of the 5th the Blue Jays were looking to get the momentum swinging back in their direction. Kevin Pillar came up to the plate to lead off the inning and appeared to want that run back that the Rangers scraped together in the 4th. Pillar mashed a really high pitch over the left field wall. The solo homer barely wrapped around the left field foul poll. After a ground out for Darwin Barney Carrera looked to continue his latest successes. Carrera laced a ball to right center field that just kept carrying and carrying. The ball landed over the wall for a solo shot to put the Jays up 4-1. After Darvish retired Josh Donaldson he had to face Edwin Encarnacion to escape the inning, but Encarnacion made Darvish pay on a middle-in fastball. The ball was on a line and ran into the left field stands for the third solo homer of the inning. Toronto took the crowd right out of the game with the three bombs in the inning and took the lead 5-1.
Happ pitched pretty well in the bottom of the 5th and came out to start the 6th. He promptly gave up a single to Ryan Rua and was removed from the game in favour of Joe Biagini. Biagini retired the side to get the Blue Jays out of the 6th.
Biagini came out to start the 7th and allowed a double to Ian Desmond. Desmond was moved up on a Carlos Beltran ground out. With Desmond on 3rd, Adrian Beltre hit a bouncer to Donaldson that saw Desmond hesitate to run home as he fielded the ball. Donaldson gunned the ball to home and Russell Martin applied a tag to get Desmond at home. The close play was reviewed but the call on the field held. Biagini was taken out of the game with a runner on first and two outs for Brett Cecil to take on Odor. Cecil walked Odor on four pitches and was removed for Jason Grilli. Grilli faced Jonathan Lucroy with runners on first and second and was able to get Lucroy to foul out to Encarnacion at first to end the threat.
Francisco Liriano came in during the 8th inning to shut down the Rangers and pinch hitter Mitch Moreland scorched a ball down the 1st base line off of Encarnacion’s glove. Edwin tried to make a great jumping catch but the ball rolled to the wall and became a double for Moreland. Kevin Pillar made a nice sliding catch to collect the first out. Liriano then walked Robinson Chirinos to put runners on first and second with one out. Carlos Gomez hit a ball off the back of the head of Liriano and runner scored on the play. Roberto Osuna would come on after the injury to Liriano occurred. It was reported soon after that game that Liriano was taken via ambulance to a local hospital.
Roberto Osuna came on with one out in the 8th inning and had to go through the heart of the meat of the order. His first task was Ian Desmond who worked a full count. Desmond grounded out to Tulo for out number two but another run came in. Russell Martin dropped the first pitch to Carlos Beltran to allow Gomez to get to third base. Osuna stuck out Beltran to end the inning with the score 5-3.
Osuna would return for the 9th and give up a long double to Adrian Beltre, but the young closer reared back and struck out Odor for the first out. Lucroy followed by popping out to second base for the second out. Mitch Moreland came up next hoping to threaten the Blue Jays lead. Osuna was able to get Moreland to pop out to Pillar in centre to end the game.