June 3rd, 2014

An almost perfect week

A lazy relay from Jose Reyes, in the ninth inning of the first game of the Royals series prevented the Jays from having an almost perfect homestand.

But with an 8-2 performance at home, John Gibbons had every reason to be proud of his players as they now will now face the Central Division leaders, the Detroit Tigers in a 3-game series.

In the first game of the Tampa Bay Rays series, the Jays were merciless against Canadian Érik Bédard, as they greeted him with five straight hits in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. The Rays tied it up in the third, but the Jays stormed back with three runs in the fourth when Dioner Navarro and Steve Tolleson had solo homeruns.

Drew Hutchison was not sharp, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks without recording a single strikeout. But, nevertheless, he notched his fourth victory of the season.

The Jays kept their winning streak alive in the second game as Mark Buehrle recorded his ninth win of the year even if he was not in top form.

The Jays offense got 13 hits, including Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion (him again!) and Juan Francisco both hit homeruns while Jose Bautista added three hits and Brett Lawrie two .They both had an rbi, as the Jays won 9-6.

If the last eight Jays win were recorded because of their heavy hitting, their ninth in a row went in the books thanks to a strong defence and their outstanding speed around the bases.

White Liam Hendricks was throwing strikes, the Rays were making solid contact… but Anthony Gose and Melky Cabrera robbed them of extra-base hits in the outfield. Francisco and Lawrie also were very sharp in the infield as Hendricks gave up only a two-run homer to Desmond Jennings.

So the Jays and the Rays were deadlocked at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning when Navarro leadoff with a single. Kevin Pillar pinch ran for him and Gose stepped up to the plate, dropping a bunt. Reliever Carlos Oviedo rushed his throw and the ball sailed toward right field as Pillar sped around the bases and he dove in at the plate with the winning run.

For the first time since May 2009, the Jays were 10 games above .500.

The winning streak ended as the Kansas City Royals came to Rogers Centre.

A lazy throw by Jose Reyes, after two outs, in the top of the ninth allowed the Royals to tie the score, 6-6. It prevented the Jays from extending their winning streak and Casey Janssen from recording his ninth save in a row, even if was not to blame for it.

The loss clouded another outstanding performance from Encarnacion who became only the third hitter, in major league history, to hit two homeruns in a  game, five times, in a single month. Harmon Killebrew, with the Washington Senators in 1959 and Albert Bell, with the Cleveland Indians in 1995, are the only others to do so.

And the next day, the Jays could not buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Although they had eight hits, the Jays stranded 10 runners.

J.A. Happ pitch a pretty good game as he was trailing, 4-1, after seven innings. But he should have been relieved at the beginning of the eight. Two outs later, the Royals got to him for two more runs as he ran out of gas.

On Saturday, the Jays showed no pity for young Aaron Brooks as they scored seven runs in the first inning, sending twelve hitters to the plate.

This made it a lot easier for Marcus Stroman, who made his first career start in the majors. He recorded his second victory in the majors, 12-2, as he allowed only one run on five hits, issuing no walks, and striking out six batters.

Francisco and Lind led the attack with three hits each. Francisco drove in four runs while Lawrie and Lind drove in two each.

In contrast with their previous game, the Jays got nine of their 14 hits with runners in scoring position.

The week ended on a winning note as Buehrle became the majors’ first         10-game winner, shutting out the Royals, 4-0, over eight strong innings, on six hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

Encarnacion’s 19th homerun of the season, a two-run blast and Navarro’s solo shot provided all the support the veteran lefthander needed.