After dropping two of three to the Rays at home, the Blue Jays headed to Anaheim to start a four game series with the Angels. In the series opener, the Jays got what they needed on both sides of the ball, collecting 7 runs on 10 hits in the 7-2 win.
The Blue Jays were thrilled to see Josh Donaldson‘s name back in the lineup on Thursday, and also that they got good news regarding his ailing hip. Many fans feared the worst when it was announced he would undergo an MRI, but the tests didn’t reveal any reason to keep the slugger out of the lineup.
The Blue Jays sent J.A. Happ to the hill in search of his team-leading 19th win of the season against Daniel Wright and he delivered. Happ made his 29th start of the year, which is a career high. His 19 wins are also a career high, and he finished the game with 176.1 innings pitched, surpassing his previous best of 172.
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In the 4th inning, Donaldson made his presence felt in the lineup, leading off with a double to start the frame. The double was Donaldson’s 28th of the season, and snapped an 0-23 drought that covered most of September.
After Edwin Encarnation singled to left, Jose Bautista followed with a base hit to right which drove in the 2015 MVP to make it 1-0. Encarnacion was able to reach third on the Bautista hit, which turned out to be important as Russell Martin followed with a sacrifice fly. Jefry Marte made a running catch to rob Troy Tulowitzki of a hit on a sharp drive to the left centre gap to keep the damage at 2-0.
The score stayed that way until the 6th when Donaldson reached base for the third time, walking to lead off the inning. The walk chased starter Daniel Wright, and the Angels brought in Jose Valdez to face the heart of the Blue Jays’ order. He was able to strike out Encarnacion before allowing Donaldson to advance to second on a wild pitch, and then walked Bautista.
Martin broke the game open with a three run homer against Valdez. He drove his 19th home run of the season over the left field wall on a 3-1 pitch from the right-hander.
Donaldson continued his triumphant return with a 2nd double in the 7th, reaching base for the fourth time. He finished the night 3-3 with two walks and two doubles.
Happs’s night came to an end after the Angels were able to break the shutout in the bottom of the 7th. Jefry Marte reached base on an error before a rare Andrelton Simmons home run to bring the score to 5-2. Joaquin Benoit relieved Happ and managed to escape the inning with no further damage on the scoreboard.
The Jays tacked on a couple runs in the 9th when Devon Travis had a two-run single, bringing the score to 7-2. They loaded the bases and chased Deolis Guerra from the game, but were unable to add more as Bautista grounded out into an inning ending double play. Bautista did reach base three times and made two great running catches in right field, also contributing greatly to the win.
Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, and cruised through a neat inning to finish off the Angels in the series opener.