Blue Jays: Marco Estrada dominates in wild win

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Marco Estrada
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 31: Starting pitcher Marco Estrada /

After getting off to an excellent start, the Jays bullpen made it interesting on a rainy Friday night in Arlington. Still, the boys in blue managed to come away with the victory, backed by an outstanding outing from Marco Estrada and some timely offense from the middle of the order.

Marco Estrada can pitch, there’s no question about it. In his second outing of the season, he tossed 6.0 excellent innings, holding the Rangers to just one run on five hits, striking out seven. With that, Estrada improves his ERA to 2.77.

Saying Estrada had the Rangers’ number would be a shrewd understatement. He made them look foolish with an elegant combination of his signature changeup and a wonderfully commanded fastball. Five of his strikeouts came on the heater, which he mostly placed up in the zone. He also threw his changeup in the dirt in all sorts of counts, working ahead for most of the night.

The Jays offense got off to an early start, touching up Rangers starter Matt Moore for six runs in 3.1 innings. The Jays played small ball early on, leaning on a sequence of singles and sacrifice flies in the third and fourth innings.

Later on, in the sixth, Yangervis Solarte and Russell Martin connected for back-to-back solo shots to stretch the lead to 8-0. In the bottom half, Rangers DH Shin-Soo Choo took Marco deep for a solo shot of his own to put the Rangers on the board. That’s all Texas would get off of Estrada.

The Jays bullpen didn’t fare so well, surrendering four runs in the seventh inning. The runs, which were charged to Aaron Loup and Seung-hwan Oh, came courtesy of a series of doubles and singles by the top of the Rangers lineup. After wiggling out of the seventh, Oh was replaced by Ryan Tepera, who would pitch a scoreless eighth and earn the hold.

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Roberto Osuna came on in the ninth to close it out, helping the Jays improve to 5-3 on the season. The game, while sloppy at some points, is very encouraging in many ways. Estrada looked like his old self, inducing tons of weak contact and locating his fastball excellently. Russell Martin was 3-4 with a couple of RBI, serving as this game’s offensive catalyst.

Elsewhere in the lineup, Josh Donaldson went 2-5 with an RBI single, and Justin Smoak continued his offensive tear with a 1-3 night that included a sac fly and a walk.

When it’s all said and done, the boys in blue picked up the victory after a 45-minute rain delay. Marco Estrada earned the victory, his first of the season, while Roberto Osuna earned his third save of the year.

Next: Blue Jays ink Darnell Sweeney to MILB deal

The Blue Jays play the Rangers again on Saturday night, as Marcus Stroman takes the hill against Mike Minor. The game, which is set to start at 8:05 PM EST, will feature Stroman’s second start of the year as the Jays try and take back-to-back games from the rival Rangers.