Jays melt down, lose to White Sox
Marco Estrada has been looking for his good stuff all summer. On Monday night, he found it on the south side of Chicago.
However, the Jays bullpen lost their way, giving up four runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth as the White Sox came back to defeat Toronto 7-6. Toronto closer Roberto Osuna gave up the final two runs to pick up the loss and his second straight blown save.
Heading into Monday night’s game at Guaranteed Rate Field, Estrada had lost five straight decisions. Since the start of June, he has posted an 8.87 ERA with a .324 opponents average and a 2.06 WHIP. But on a warm Chicago night, he stymied the rebuilding Sox, going seven innings and giving up one run on four hits.
“It’s just one start, but I did feel a lot better out there. Obviously I haven’t been myself lately,” Estrada said. “Slowed the game down and just made sure I threw strikes. I was around the plate, made a lot of good pitches and basically threw fastballs and change ups today and that’s how well I was locating.”
Estrada had been the topic of trade rumours in the weeks leading up to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline and admitted it weighed on his mind.
“I’m glad it’s done with and don’t have to hear about it anymore,” he said. “When you keep getting asked everyday, it’s kind of hard to let it go. Baseball’s a business, I understand, that’s part of it. If (a trade) was going to happen, it was going to happen but I expressed to them that I’m really happy here and I love playing for Toronto. Just wished we would have won.”
Estrada turned everything off and didn’t look at his cell phone or TV all day.
“If my phone rang, that was the only thing that was going to worry me,” he said.
The Jays went deep three times early off Chicago starting James Shields to pace their attack. Josh Donaldson opened the scoring in the first when he smacked a two-out home run just over the fence in centre. White Sox outfielder Adam Engel made a good try for it and got hurt running into the fence. Russell Martin also went yard with a solo blast to centre in the fourth. Two batters later, Justin Smoak hit his team-leading 30th homer of the year, to right field.
The Jays jumped ahead 6-0 a play that sucked the air out of the park. With the bases loaded, Darwin Barney hit a pop fly to shallow right that Chicago outfielder Willy Garcia slid and caught before being kneed in the head by teammate Yoan Moncada, who collided with Garcia while trying to jump over him. Both players went down and had to leave the game, Moncada on a stretcher. Garcia was able to walk off. Moncada suffered a right knee contusion and Garcia a head contusion. He will be evaluated further on Tuesday morning.
Chicago finally scored in the seventh when Alen Hanson hit a sac fly to right to score Yolmer Sanchez from third.
The Sox added four in the eighth when reliever Joe Biagini gave up a double to Jose Abreu to score Leury Garcia and third baseman Matt Davidson smacked a two-run homer to right. Biagini was replaced by Ryan Tepera who gave up a solo homer to Sanchez.
Osuna gave up the tying run in the ninth when Abreu hit a blooper to right to score Adam Engel. The final blow came when Davidson hit a two-out single to score Garcia.
“Joe was definitely off a little bit with the strike zone. But Osuna, they bled him to death and got some key hits,” manager John Gibbons said. “I don’t think he was necessarily off, they just found some holes and had some good at-bats.”
“If you’ve been around baseball as long as I have, you go through it. It’s never easy, especially when you’ve got a nice comfortable lead. But it’s a great-hitting park,” Gibbons added. “It’s been a long day.”
GUYS WILL BE MISSED
Smith and Liriano were reportedly both good team guys, but the lefty it appears will be especially missed around the clubhouse.
“I hate to lose friends,” Bautista said of Liriano. “I consider him a friend. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great competitor. He gave us his best, even when he’s not at 100%. And I think the Astros are getting a quality person and a quality player that’s going to hopefully — unless they play us — help them down the road.
“Great teammate,” catcher Russell Martin added. “One of those guys that’s real easy to get along with. Probably one of the nicest guys on the team and he’s ferocious on the mound. Houston’s lucky to have him. Type of the guy that could neutralize any type of offence when he’s on. Hopefully he goes out there and he does what he’s capable of doing. Hopefully it’s not against us.
“Personally, I’ve very fond of both the guys we traded,” added Gibbons. “They did some good things for us, and they’re good guys on top of that, both of them are very professional. So we’ll miss them, there’s no doubt about that. But it is business, you move on and just try to regroup and see where you end up.”
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE OUTFIELDERS?
With the acquisition of Aoki, the Jays are now looking at five outfielders on the roster, which can cause a problem for Gibbons.
“I think it’s important you give everybody on your team enough playing time (but) this gives us a chance to spell some guys in the outfield,” he said.
It’s likely Kevin Pillar will continue to roam centre with Bautista in right while Steve Pearce and Ezequiel Carrera will platoon in left, leaving Aoki as the ‘day off’ guy. As for the rotation with Liriano gone, Gibbons said it’s a work in progress.
Everything just happened, we really haven’t talked about that,” he said. “And the wild card is (Aaron) Sanchez, and I don’t know how long that is going to be. He’s feeling better, I think he’s going to go out and play some catch (Monday), so that’s a good thing.”
Sanchez is on the DL with blister issues on his right middle finger.