Blue Jays drop home opener to Milwaukee Brewers

Bevan Hamilton
Apr 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) hits a double to score a run against Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) hits a double to score a run against Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays fall to Milwaukee to start the 2017 season 1-6, the worst season start in franchise history.

More than 48,000 fans packed the Rogers Centre on Tuesday night to watch the Toronto Blue Jays at home for the first time this season, hoping a more welcoming environment might bring the team some good luck. However, Toronto dropped a close one, 4-3, to the Milwaukee Brewers, who were the first National League team the Jays faced in a home opener in their history.

J.A. Happ started for the Blue Jays but didn’t have his best stuff, failing to make it out of the fifth inning. Although he struck out eight batters, Happ wasn’t really fooling anybody, as the Brewers made lots of good contact against him.

Kendrys Morales and Troy Tulowitzki proved a dynamic duo for Toronto, combining for all Toronto’s five hits. Morales had three singles and behind him in the cleanup spot, Tulowitzki had two doubles and a sacrifice fly, bringing in all three Blue Jays’ runs. The shortstop now has nine RBIs on the season to lead the team.

Russell Martin continues to struggle to start the year. He went 0-for-4, striking out three times with runners on base, leaving four on in total. Toronto went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position overall. Despite Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta walking four batters, the Jays struggled to capitalize.

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The Brewers got to Happ early. In the first, Keon Broxton powered a homerun out of Rogers Centre on a cutter Happ left over the plate. Jays-killer Travis Shaw (formerly of the Boston Red Sox) then tripled and scored on a single by Domingo Santana, quickly staking Milwaukee to a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Tulowitzki hammered a double off the wall in centre field, scoring Jose Bautista‘s walk to cut the lead in half. Martin and Justin Smoak each struck out with two runners in scoring position.

The Brewers added a run in the top of the third and Toronto responded with a Tulo sacrifice fly, scoring a Devon Travis walk. Happ pitched out of trouble in the fourth, but was pulled with two outs in the fifth after Santana homered to make it 4-2 and Jesus Aguilar doubled.

The Blue Jays’ bullpen of Dominic Leone, Joe Smith, Joe Biagini, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna (he’s back!) combined to allow just two hits over 4.1 innings.

In the fifth, Tulowitzki drove in his third run, doubling home Morales’ third single to bring the Jays within one, but Martin struck out again with RISP.

Josh Donaldson pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth and struck out, although it’s just good to see him well enough to play in the game. He isn’t expected to be out long. Donaldson accepted his Silver Slugger award before the game.

A bright spot was a nice catch by Kevin Pillar in the eight, robbing a base hit.

Next: Blue Jays: Good years with bad Aprils

The Jays try to earn a split with Milwaukee — and win a second game in eight tries — Wednesday night. Marcus Stroman takes the mound at 7:07 EST.

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