After last night’s close-but-no-cigar loss, the Blue Jays were hoping to bounce back in game two against the Angels. Carlos Villanueva made his first start of the season, coming out of the bullpen to try and help solidify Toronto’s floundering rotation.
Villanueva was able to pitch five innings before running out of gas and gave up three earned runs on seven hits. His six strikeouts were one off from his career high and his one walk came in the third inning, although the runner did come around to score the Angels’ first run of the game.
With the rotation still slightly in shambles and a bullpen that has been used a lot this month, the offense has had to carry Toronto to most of its victories. Most of those coming on the Jays’ ability to hit homeruns, but Friday night’s effort showed a more well-rounded offense.
Toronto opened their scoring on back-to-back doubles by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the fourth. Bautista narrow escaped the tag at home after some aggressive base-running on a ball that wasn’t hit overly deep to Angels’ centre fielder Mike Trout. Kelly Johnson, hitting in the fifth spot of the order, has struggled in June, but managed to bunt Encarnacion to third base. Yunel Escobar then singled to bring Encarnacion home. Adam Lind hit a three run homerun, his first since returning from Triple A, to close out the scoring that inning, making it 5-2 Jays. Both Encarnacion and Rajai Davis had two steals on the night, including a beautiful delayed steal by Davis in the bottom of the sixth.
The Angels’ tied the game in the seventh inning on a two run homerun by catcher John Hester off Jays’ reliever Scott Richmond.
In the bottom of the seventh, Escobar hit a ground-rule double to score Encarnacion to give Toronto a 6-5 lead. They would score another run in the bottom of the eighth off Lind’s second homerun of the night, which was more than enough insurance for closer Casey Janssen to convert his ninth save in as many tries since being named the team’s ninth inning man.
The Jays are in the middle of 17 straight games without an off-day, heading into the All-Star break. Considering the timing of their pitching issues, their 8-9 record since Brandon Morrow left with an oblique strain on June 11th is nowhere near as bad as it could have be. And although the offense found its power stroke at the right time, it’s going to be important for the Jays’ to find ways to win besides pitching and just homeruns. The team is going to have to pull together to get through this stretch, and from the looks of things, they’ve already started to.
Final score 7-5 for the Jays. Game three goes Saturday with Garrett Richards pitching for the Angels and Henderson Alvarez going for the Jays. First pitch is 1:07pm ET.
About the Author
Written by Amanda Tallon
Self-professed baseball nerd, blogger, writer, tweeter, learning addict and once colour commentator. Celebrating over twenty years of love with the Toronto Blue Jays and the beautiful game of baseball. I also contribute to thegalsgotgame.com, a sports website for business women by women.