A trio of 3-run home runs powered the Toronto Blue Jays (11-9) over the Baltimore Orioles (9-10) by a score of 9-3 on Tuesday night.
With the victory, the Blue Jays have now passed the number of wins they had last April, when they finished the month 10-17.
R.A. Dickey was cruising through the first five innings, allowing just a pair of Steve Clevenger hits, and, importantly, no walks. He had thrown just 63 pitches (a 12.2 per inning average, much improved over his 18.5 heading into the start). Steve Lombardozzi opened with a bloop double that fell into no-man’s land, and the lineup turned over for the third time through the order.
Stoeten tweeted this a couple of hours before the game. I tweeted shortly after what followed that Dickey should have been pulled because of that. Stoeten tweeted me back saying that was nonsense, and upon further discussion I agree. It’s a small sample size. But at the end of the 6th, he looked rattled.
Here’s the third time through the order for Baltimore: Walk, 3-run HR, fly out, ground out, Walk, Hit By Pitch, Walk, K. (That K ended the 6th, when Dickey, who got squeezed a little, looked upset with himself and the umpiring. He did not look as composed as he normally does.)
Lombardozzi led off the 7th with another single, closing the books on the third trip through the order. The line: 2-for-5, 3 BB, HBP. That’s a .667 OBP.
After Nick Markakis hit a run-saving ground-rule double, out came the hook. I agree with Stoeten’s reply that the stats alone should not have resulted in Dickey’s removal before the 7th. But his composure should have. Either way, it’s a troubling stat that needs to be monitored moving forward.
So with two men on, enter Neil Wagner. He got Nelson Cruz to ground out back to the mound, and then turned it over to Brett Cecil.
The All-Star lefty walked lefty Chris Davis (though in my opinion, he got jobbed on the ball 4 call, it should have been strike 3). That brought Adam Jones, who was a career 2-for-21 against Cecil. And righties were hitting a paltry .133 against him. Cecil struck him out on three pitches. He then fanned Clevenger, and his job was done. He’s been stellar this season (perhaps even the team’s MVP?) It certainly doesn’t appear as though 2013 was a fluke. Great for him.
On offense, Miguel Gonzalez was solid, but in the 6th, a Lombardozzi error got things going. Jose Bautista (who has now reached in all 20 games this season) singled to bring up Edwin Encarnacion, desperate for his first long ball of the season. He delivered with a ROCKET to centre-field, into the first row of the patio bar where Windows Restaurant used to be. At long last, he can take that pet parrot of his out for a walk.
In the 8th, after a Juan Francisco single (his second hit of the night, he’s now hitting .400 with a .500 OBP), and a Colby Rasmus walk, Brett Lawrie came up, carrying an 0-for-2 with a HBP. And I said this:
Lawrie promptly homered to centre field to give the Jays a 6-3 lead. Shows what the eff I know.
Oh, and then Cabrera hit a 3-run dinger, too. It was the soup du jour, apparently. It was his first since the last day of his 4-dingers-in-4-days run back on April 8. He had gone 11 contests without one.
So. All 12 runs in this game were scored off 3-run home runs. That’s kinda neat.
Tomorrow night, the Jays will once again look to move to three games above .500 for the first time since the 2012 season. It’ll be a tough one. Orioles’ ace Chris Tillman takes on Dustin McGowan.
Tonight was a big win for the Jays. They’re arguably the healthiest team in the East. I said before the game a 4-2 homestand should be the benchmark for success. They have an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and Baltimore, Boston, and Tampa Bay, at least. It’s time to actually follow through.
Speaking of following, don’t forget to follow on Twitter: