Blue Jays bats silent. Happ Ks 9 over 5 innings, but not even close
JA Happ looked pretty impressive in his outing against the Orioles today, for the first four innings.
Unfortunately, a miss by Moises Sierra in right field led to the Oriole's first run. Moises lost a fly ball hit down the line to right. It was a great and long run to try to catch it, but he attempted to dive for the ball that he didn't need to and just missed it. His defense now I would rank in the questionable category, with a dive at a fly ball a few days back, a miss yesterday, and a miss today.
Happ threw 56 pitches through four innings, walking 2 and striking out 6, to keep is strikeout rate well above one per inning.
The fifth inning was not good for Happ at all, as the Orioles pummeled Happ with a solid single by Andino, a RBI double by Nick Markakis, another RBI double by J J Hardy pass a diving Hechavarria, and an Adam Jones single, all with none out. Then, Happ struck out the side but threw 36 pitches in the inning. 3-0 Orioles half-way through the game.
Meanwhile, Joe Saunders powered his way through the Jays lineup, retiring the first 17 batters in a row, beating his best start of the season when he pitched against the Marlins in April (while pitching for the Diamondbacks) when he retired 13 in a row.
Happ got pulled in the top of the sixth when McLouth hit a double to the wall in right-centre with none out. Lincoln saved the inning with a walk, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk, and double play to preserve the three run deficit.
Delabar pitched a good 7th, only walking one.
Encarnacion opened the 7th inning with a walk and Adam Lind followed with a base hit. Escobar hit a fielder's choice (Encarnacion tagged out on the way to third), and Kelly Johnson hit a single to load the bases. That ended Saunders' afternoon. On came Luis Ayala to pitch to Moises Sierra, who went 3-0 before striking out on three pitches. Jeff Mathis then hit a high popper to Jones to end the inning.
The Orioles are 58-0 when leading after 7 and explains why they are in the wild-card spot.
Brett Cecil, joining the Jays as part of the September expansion, came on in the eighth, hit a batter, got a popup, and walked the next batter, got another out, then Hardy hit a single to center to score McLouth from 2nd. 4-0 Orioles mid-eighth.
Pedro Strop (1.86 ERA, 1.17 WHIP), setup man for the Orioles, then had a clean 1-2-3 in the 8th for his 24th hold.
Cecil got himself in trouble again in the 9th, loading the bases before getting a deep fly ball to Rasmus to end the inning.
Jim Johnson then came on with the 4-0 lead to do some work in a non-save situation and preserve the shutout.
So, overall, a terrible outing for the Jays offense, who managed only three hits all afternoon. It's the 8th game since July 29 that the Jays have got 4 hits or less but the first time since July 25 that they've been shut out.