A streak in the books and post-All-Star break couldn’t be much better for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays finished sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in relatively routine fashion at the Rogers Center, except for Sunday’s series finale when the visitors finally took an early lead and then scared away the home team in the ninth inning before Toronto got a 7 buff. -5 victory.
The Jays go into 12 outdoor games Monday for a season-high . 500 today before resuming play on Tuesday when San Diego comes to town.
Yusei Kikuchi started for the Blue Jays, allowing Arizona to score each of the first two frames. D’backs pinned him to the ropes, but showed no desire to land a knockdown.
The Blue Jays, by contrast, were more than willing to pounce. And again, this came courtesy of Danny Jansen.
Looking back on that four-game winning streak, it was Detroit’s ninth homer by Jansen in the last game before the All-Star break that seemed to reignite the club’s flame.
The veteran receiver came back in the eighth inning on Sunday with a two-goal lead that put Jay ahead 6-2.
The Jays bats, starting with Detroit homer Homer Jansen, seem to be getting used to saving the best for last. In Toronto’s first 7-2 victory, five runs were driven into the seventh inning. On Saturday, they scored two of their eight goals to power up a 5-2 win.
Four more on the occasion of the eighth Sunday … And this time they needed almost all of them.
Mitch White came out in the ninth to lead off with five runs, but retired with the bases loaded and two outs.
Eric Swanson relieved White and quickly conceded a triple to Ketil Marty, who put the game up at home, but pushed Emmanuel Rivera on a routine fly ball to center field for the save.
The foreshadowing of how Kikuchi’s day was going came right off the jump when Arizona hitter Marty ran the first pitch of the game and holed it. Luckily for Kikuchi, she stays in the park for too long, making noise in the left-of-center caution lane.
Things didn’t get much better. Kikuchi hit two batters, threw two wild pitches, and was responsible for one of the team’s errors.
Pitching coach Pete Walker had to visit after the Southern defender threw 25 balls and only 22 bases.
To Kikuchi’s credit, he clinched the next two innings, but his day ended with two outs and one in the fifth, tying the score at 2-2, after the Jays got two runs in the second.
I love this glove
Upon his return to Toronto for the first time since his trade to Arizona, Lourdes Juriel Jr. took the plunge. In appreciation and warmth.
The sentiment wasn’t evident in the series finale, but many fans weren’t shy about expressing their admiration.
On Sunday, with a strong start, Juriel moved up the order and got third, while taking his natural spot in left field, an area he knew intimately from his playing days in Toronto.
He had a nice catch late in the first that denied Matt Chapman a hit, possibly for extra bases.
In the top of the third, he led the set with a powerful left ball, not far from where he scored Chapman’s ball. Height may have played a part as White-Merryfield was unable to deal with the ball coming out of his glove for a shot.
Gurriel, who was then obliterated on a double play, ended up going 2-for-3 with a run.
He was not in the team for either of the first two matches, but Santiago Espinal made an impact towards the end of the series.
Batting eighth in the order and playing at second base, Espinal scored hits on his first two batters, hit a run, and scored another.
On his second stroke, Espinal attempted to extend a single into a double, but was easily tagged out in the second.
Jay at Blue Jay
Veteran Jay Jackson was asked to score the final play in the fifth when Kikuchi got the hook and did his job pushing Gorell to third.
In Arizona’s next game at PAT, Jackson, who was credited with the win, retired the first two batters before being relieved by Tim Maesa, who put up a stellar defensive display to score the third.
Taking a running back between the mound and first base from major league rookie Corbin Carroll, Maiza had to swing the ball to Vlad Guerrero Jr., right off his glove for a quick Diamondback half step.