Two hiccups that really hurt
The Blue Jays could not hope for a better way to start their homestand against the Chicago Cubs.
Marcus Stroman registered his first career complete game and first shutout, 8-0, as he limited the Cubs to three hits, did not issue a single walk, and struck out eight hitters, using only 93 pitches.
The Jays hit at least one homer for the 12th game in a row when Jose Bautista slammed his 32nd of the year, a three-run blast. It was the 200th of his career and he extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Joey Bats leads the Jays with 92 rbis.
Adam Lind, Dioner Navarro and Kevin Pillar, who is making the most of his playing time as Melky Cabrera is on the disabled list, added two hits each. Navarro also drove in two runs for a season total of 65, a new personal high.
Stroman was masterful as he retired 19 hitters in a row to win his 10th game of the year.
In the second game of the series, the Jays were slow getting started, but even if they did not hit any homerun, they did get 14 hits on their way to beat the Cubs 9-2.
Bautista hit safely for a 13th consecutive game and drove in four runs. During his hitting spree, Joey Bats has hit eight homers with 19 rbis.
Despite giving up 10 hits, Mark Buehrle won his 12th game of the year as he allowed only two runs over seven innings.
The Jays completed the sweep as they posted an 11-1 win over the Cubs as Drew Hutchison was again very solid at home. He gave up only one run on four hits and struck out 10 hitters on his way to his 10th win of the season.
The Jays sent 17 hitters to the plate in the 6th and 7th innings to put the game out of reach with an 8-run outburst.
Jose Reyes, Danny Valencia, Anthony Gose and Dioner Navarro each got two hits, while Valencia, Encarnacion and Navarro drove in two runs each. But Bautista’s hitting streak was stopped at 13.
The off-day on Thursday did not bring what was to be expected, as the Jays bowed 1-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays, getting only two hits.
A first hiccup that made a sweep impossible…
They wasted their best chance to score any runs in the first inning as starter Nathan Karns issued two walks and hit a batter, but that threat disappeared when Encarnacion hit into a double play.
The Jays did nothing offensively to help J.A. Happ who gave up only two hits, including a solo homer by Ryan Hanigan, leading off the 3rd inning. He suffered his 10th loss of the season.
The Jays could not solve the Karns’ mystery as the tall righthander gave up only two hits and two walks, while striking out eight batters.
The loss prevented the Jays from gaining ground in the wild card race since the Yankees suffered two losses while the Indians and the A’s were also beaten.
On Saturday, both team battled to a 3-3 tie over the first six innings. But, in the seventh, the Jays got their bats going against the Rays’ relievers.
Adam Lind broke the tie with his 5th homer of the season, a two-run shot off Brad Boxberger and then Encarnacion greeted Steve Gelts with a solo blast. The Jays were on their way to a 6-3 win.
R.A. Dickey won his 13th game of the year, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks over the first six innings and Casey Janssen notched his 23rd save.
But in the last game on Sunday, the Jays were once again slow off the gate et they had to score five runs in the last three regular innings to tie the Rays 5-5.
And unfortunately, Brandon Morrow started the tenth by issuing a walk, which came around to score and the Jays lost 6-5.
Mark Buehrle was roughed up for four runs on nine hits over the first six innings and his only consolation was that is now 12 innings shy of his goal of reaching 200 innings for a 14th consecutive season.
That was the second hiccup which cost the Jays a very important series.
And for the Jays, time is running out…