Blue Jays lose to Orioles in extra innings in first of three game series

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Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays and Aaron Sanchez opened the first of a three game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night to a 30 minute rain delay.  Once the game got under way, the Jays took an early 3-1 lead.  Yet a theme that many have seen this year, a lack of offense, poor fundamental skills and a rocky bullpen, all added to the Jays fourth loss out of their last five games.   

Baltimore started the scoring in the bottom half of the second inning with starter Aaron Sanchez loading the bases before giving up a hit to J.J. Hardy straight up the middle.  Once that run was surrendered, he quickly settled down, working well with Jays back catcher Luke Maile, until the bottom half of the sixth inning.

The Jays tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning against Orioles starter, Chris Tillman, with a base hit to left field by the ever-efficient and dominating first baseman, Justin Smoak.  It seems that lately no shift or pitch negatively affects this man’s ability to see the ball; he takes whatever the pitcher is throwing at him and uses it to his advantage.  Devon Travis, batting after Smoak, just missed hitting a three run home run but settled for a double and a RBI, giving the Jays a 2-1 lead.  Smoak was then able to come around and score with a Ryan Goins ground out to first.

Trouble appeared in the sixth inning when Sanchez gave up a leadoff single to Mark Trumbo.  Orioles back catcher, Welington Castillo, followed with a two run shot, tying the game up at 3-3.  Sanchez then quickly got the next three batters out including an inning ending, jump up with his back against the wall catch made by left fielder and top Jays prospect Anthony Alford, playing his first Major League game on Friday.

Alford’s season in New Hampshire AA has been impressive to say the least with him hitting .325 with 123 AB and 40 hits.  His wife, Bailey and her parents, along with his sister and her baby cheered him on from the stands.  Unfortunately his first big league hit will have to wait as the two at bats Alford had, he ended up striking out and hitting a line drive out to left field.

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Sanchez’s night came to an end after Alford’s catch.  He has a couple hiccups in the game, but overall was his commanding, intense and focused self.  He threw six strong innings, allowing three earned runs and six hits while striking out four over 93 pitches.

Orioles’ starter Tillman left the game after six strong innings for reliever and Bautista nemesis, Darren O’Day to enter it.  With a runner on base and one out, Bautista faced off against O’Day.  His numbers versus the Orioles pitcher speak for themselves, .389 AVG, seven for eighteen hits including four home runs.  Jose was given first base after a five pitch walk.  Unfortunately the Jays weren’t able to capitalize on the men they had on base and the game remained tied at 3.

Innings seven through nine saw the score unchanged and then…the rain came.   After a lengthy and almost full hour rain delay, the tenth inning started and quickly ended with the Jays being unable to score.  Jason Grilli came on for the Jays and quickly got two outs before Mark Trumbo hit a single.  For the second time in Friday’s game, back catcher Welington Castillo hit a 2 run HR and ended up winning the game for Baltimore.  Grilli recorded the loss while Orioles’ pitcher Mychal Givens was credited with the win.

Next: Blue Jays call up highly rated prospect Anthony Alford

The Jays and Orioles are set to play game two of the series tomorrow evening at 7:37 pm.  Mike Bolsinger is scheduled to start for the Jays; he gave up six runs and eight hits in his last start.  He’s 0-2 with seven strikeouts and an ERA of 6.10.  Kevin Gausman will make the start for the Orioles with a 2-3 record in nine starts with an ERA of 7.19.  He’s 3-3 in his career against the Jays in fourteen starts.

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