Villanueva pitches gem; Cooper recovers Janssen’s blown save as Jays walk off
It took extra innings to score the third run, but it was a heartfelt win that the Jays really, really needed.
The Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the 3rd with an Edwin single that scored Anthony Gose. Kelly Johnson and Edwin all got caught in the ensuing rundown from the single that resulted in the 3rd out, scored 9-2-6-4-2-5-1-5 (which I believe gets me a pizza if I order it from my work phone).
Carlos Villanueva pitched a gem, retiring 9 in a row before Adam Dunn hit a boomer to center with one out in the 4th. Other than that, Carlos gave up four other singles. On the way he fanned 9 and walked 1 in a gem of a game from the team’s middle reliever, throwing 85 pitches over the seven innings.
Moises Sierra gave the team a lead leading off the bottom of the 7th with a home run to deep left-center field. I am getting more and more impressed with this kid.
Brandon Lyon came on in the 8th to pitch an uneventful inning, with two strikeouts and a fly ball. Then Casey Janssen did what he never did before -- blew a save, doing so on the first pitch of the 9th to Adam Dunn (who now leads the AL in homers with 33). Ramirez then singled but the defense picked up Janssen with a great throw by Mathis to catch Ramirez stealing second.
Then it was the Steve Delabar show after that, as he struck out FOUR in the 10th (passed ball) and two in the 11th.
In the bottom of the 11th, the Jays then had the White Sox on the ropes as a walk to Kelly Johnson followed by an Edwin single put runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. David Cooper then knocked in a single to Alex Rios for the walk-off victory, the first I believe since Rajai Davis’ single in the bottom of the 10th against the Phillies on June 16.
The Jays needed this celebration to show that a team made up of AAA players can win meaningful games. Peavy was tough tonight, pitching 8 innings of 5 hit ball, striking out 6 and walking 2 over 124 pitches (84 for strikes!). But Villanueva’s gem held up and the only meaningful offense by the AL Central leading White Sox was Adam Dunn’s two homers.
I am really starting to like the work of Moises Sierra and David Cooper, who are hitting extremely well in the majors. Moises is making an excellent case to stay up in the majors while Gose goes back down to brew for a while (though his speed will be missed). And David Cooper can stay at first and Adam Lind can take his time healing his back.
When your starting pitcher can come into the game and give you a string of scoreless innings, it will give the offense the confidence it needs to not press for runs and will make the team more effective overall. Great starts from Villanueva and Happ allowed the Jays to do just that.