Mission ’13, Game 61: Jays win 4-3 in extras

Mark Buehrle was in tough today. Not only was he facing a good-hitting Rangers team, but his opposite number on the mound was Yu Darvish. Darvish has been fantastic this season, striking out batters at a pace similar to Nolan Ryan did in the late ’70s. He gives his team a chance to win every time he takes the mound. Mark Buehrle hasn’t. He’s a pitch-to-contact guy who has given up a lot of contact this season (.304 BAbip).

Chasing the 1930 Phillies

Game 61

PHI 23-38

TOR 27-34

Five game series’ with a pair of double headers sure are a thing of the past but game 61 for the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies went no better than the previous 8 games. Monk Sherlock had a triple and 4 total bases, but it wasn’t enough as the Phils went down to their 9th loss in a row. The Pirates, led by Dick Bartell, got 11 hits, 7 of them for extra bases. Check the boxscore here.

A tendency among Blue Jays hitters when they’re pressing is to swing at the first pitch. The Jays are struggling offensively of late, so they need to be creative. Last night’s game was a case in point: they scored 6 runs on 4 hits, and only had 6 hits in the game. Walks, sac flies, and HBP all contributed. Today their bats are in the LOO (low-offensive output) again.

The 3rd inning was Buehrle’s first real test. He put 2 on (BB, swinging bunt) with 2 out, bringing switch hitter Lance Berkman to the plate. Buerhle induced a foul pop-up from the slugger, ending the inning.

The 3rd inning was the 3rd time the Jays put two runners on base. Edwin drew his 2nd BB of the game and Lind singled to left-center field. JP Arencibia struck out, but Colby Rasmus ripped a triple into right-center field. He scored when Jurickson Profar’s throw to 3rd eluded Leury Garcia and bounced into the stands. Make it 3-0 Jays.

Yu Darvish gave up 4 H, 3 BB, and 3 R (2 ER) in his first 3 IP. He managed this while throwing 63 pitches. By way of comparison, Mark Buehrle threw 46 pitches in 3 IP and was only at 57 pitches after 4 innings. Typically pitchers with a high number of Ks will throw more pitches than a pitch-to-contact pitcher, but his high pitch count is a testimony to a lack of control rather than getting a lot of Ks in the game.

The Rangers finally solved the problem of how to get a run across the plate against Mark Buehrle in the 6th inning. Jeff Baker hit a long home run on the first pitch he saw to make the score 3-1 Jays. Two batters later Craig Gentry doubled into the left field corner. The Rangers doubled their hit total for the game with these 2 hits. A meeting with pitching coach Pete Walker resulted in a one-pitch out to end the inning. Buehrle used only 92 bullets in 7 IP.

Steve Delabar relieved Buehrle to start the 8th and immediately created a problem by walking Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. Lance Berkman lined out to CF and Andrus advanced to 3B, but a wild pitch moved Profar to 2B and removed the ground ball double play possibility. He then struck out Adrian Beltre on a 97 mph full count fast ball and then got Nelson Cruz to pop out foul on a 3-1 count.

Lefty Neal Cotts came on in relief to pitch the 8th inning and the 1st batter he faced, Adam Lind, singled to left field. The hit made Lind 4-4 on the day and 27-53 (.509) since being held hitless by the Rays. Lind now has 4 games in his last 7 when he’s had at least 3 hits.

Casey Janssen came on to close out the game and struggled just enough to blow the save but not the game. He gave up a single, a walk, and then a bloop single to pinch hitter AJ Pierzynski, scoring a run, and a sac fly to Elvis Andrus, to tie the game at 3-3. August 27, 2012 was the last time Janssen blew a save opportunity, a stretch of 18 such appearances. It also brought to a close the long stretch of scoreless innings twirled by the Jays’ ‘pen.

An old friend, Jason Frasor, relieved Neal Cotts with one out in the 9th and pinch hitter Mark DeRosa coming to the plate. Frasor struck out DeRosa. Rajai Davis singled to right, bringing Jose Bautista to the plate. Davis stole second, then Bautista flied out to CF to end the inning.

Dustin McGowan came on in relief in the 10th inning. It’s his first appearance with the Jays since 2011. He walked Berkman, then an error by DeRosa at 3B put Beltre on with no one out and Jay killer Nelson Cruz coming to the plate. McGowan hit Cruz to load the bases with no one out. Jeff Baker struck out, and John Gibbons called on Juan Perez to get the final two outs. A lazy fly ball by Aneury Martin was caught by Jose Bautista, who then loaded up and fired a rocket to home plate, getting Lance Berkman by 10 feet. Dustin McGowan and Juan Perez combined to pitch a scoreless inning. It was tense, but it was a successful return for Dustin McGowan.

I didn’t have a good feeling about this game. The Jays had their foot on the Rangers’ throat, and didn’t finish them, then Bautista snatched the momentum away from the Rangers with his throw to the plate. Let’s see what the Jays do with it.

Edwin grounded out to start the 10th inning for the Jays. Robbie Ross relieved Jason Frasor to pitch to Lind and struck out both Lind and Arencibia.

An uneventful top of the 11th inning—aided by a double play—brought the Jays up in the bottom of the inning. Emilio Bonifacio dumped a single into right, then stole second with Mark DeRosa at the plate. DeRosa walked, but Rajai grounded out to the pitcher.

Ross Wolf relieved Robbie Ross in the 12th inning, and Jose Bautista greeted him with a lead off single. It was just his 3rd hit in his last 35 ABs. Uncharacteristically Edwin swung at all 3 pitches he saw and flied out to right field, failing to advance Bautista. Adam Lind grounded to Lance Berkman, who turned a DP to end the inning.

JP Arencibia and Colby Rasmus opened the 13th inning with base hits. The situation screams for a sac bunt by Maicer Izturis, which is why the Rangers infield met at the mound. A failed bunt attempt was fielded by AJ Pierzynski and Arencibia was thrown out at 3B. A Bonifacio grounder off the pitcher was snared by Profar, who tagged out Izturis as he ran toward 2B. DeRosa grounded out to Andrus to end the inning.

The Jays must be conceding this one: Brad Lincoln is in to pitch. True to form, Lincoln walked the lead off hitter. Lincoln’s only had 2 appearances this season when he hasn’t walked at least one batter. Lincoln didn’t hold Andrus on very effectively; Andrus stole 2B. Profar then sacrificed him to 3B. Another bunt failed to score Andrus and Beltre grounded out harmlessly to DeRosa. Lincoln held TEX scoreless.

Jeff Baker doubled with one out in the top of the 15th inning against Brad Lincoln. Lincoln then hit Leonys Martin with a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out. A ground ball to Edwin was bobbled, but he flipped the ball to Lincoln for the 2nd out. Pierzynski grounded out to Bonifacio for out #3.

Adam Lind drew a 4-pitch walk and JPA singled to left center in the home half of the 15th inning. Lind went to 3rd, and the Jays put another runner 90 feet from the plate. Colby then popped out, Izturis grounded out, and Bonifacio lined out to end the threat.

The Jays have an interesting situation facing them. Josh Thole pinch hit for DeRosa, but Arencibia stayed in the game. Thole, though he has no experience, moved to 1B and Edwin shifted to 3B. An infield of JPA-Thole-Boni-Izturis-Edwin might be the worst I’ve seen. Also, Aaron Loup is the last RP, and every out made by Lincoln seems like a gift.

Aaron Loup relieved Brad Lincoln in the 18th inning. He gave up a lead off double to David Murphy and hit Pierzynski. Murphy was caught off 2B and Pierzynski moved to 2B on the rundown.

18 innings was all it took. A one out single by Emilio Bonifacio caused too much of a disturbance for Ross Wolf, who threw a ball away trying to keep Boni close. Boni advanced to 3B and scored on a base hit by Rajai Davis. TEX (1-19) and TOR (2-17) were 3-36 with RISP. This is a good win for the Jays.

Wes Kepstro

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