With only two series left before the All-Star Break, the Blue Jays traveled to OPACY to start the first of these last two sets. It was the third meeting between the O’s and Jays in a month. I’ll tell you, I am a fan of the Blue Jays’ uniforms, but I’m tired of seeing them.
Although this is a three-game series that isn’t complete yet due to Thursday’s rainout, these two teams won’t meet to finish the series until September 11. On that day, they will partake in a doubleheader, where game one will be the finale game of this series, and game two will be game one of that regularly scheduled series.
For just two games, a whole bunch happened this series. We saw a first Major League start and win, seven home runs by seven different players between the two teams, and a fly ball double play that was reviewed, overturned, and left two fan bases bewildered.
Here is a breakdown of what happened in the first two games of this postponed series!
Game one was such a great showing, both offensively and defensively, for the Orioles.
To kick things off, Spenser Watkins was making his first Major League start a few days removed from his big league debut. At 28 years old, Watkins finally gets to see the majors, after a very hard fought six-year minor league career. He was a 30th round pick in 2014 and eventually shimmied his way into the starting rotation, tossing five innings with three hits and just one run in his very first start.
After giving up a leadoff walk and a single to start the first inning, Watkins gave up a sacrifice fly, and the Blue Jays led 1-0. Out of the next 17 hitters that Watkins faced, only four reached base; two on walks and two on singles. Neither base runner scored, and both walks were followed by inning-ending double plays. After five, Watkins left with a large lead and was on his way to his first win.
The offense woke up in the fourth inning and decided to give their rookie pitcher some run support. Pedro Severino went yard with a man on base and gave the O’s the lead at 2-1.
The bottom of the fifth is when the fun began!
All-Star Cedric Mullins got it started with his 16th home run on the year, scoring Domingo Leyba in the process. Then with Trey Mancini on third, Steven Matz let him score on a wild pitch and let Ryan Mountcastle get to third.
Anthony Santander followed that up with his sixth long ball on the year and the Orioles’ third in the game. This one was sent to Eutaw Street! When it was all said and done, the O’s led 7-1.
The Blue Jays hit solo home runs in the seventh and eighth and a two-run shot in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough. The Orioles bullpen held on for the 7-5 victory.
Spenser Watkins earned his first major league victory and moves to 1-0 on the year. Watkins is also The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game. It’s undeniable. If you can give up just one run and three hits to one of the league’s best offenses, you’re gonna get the award! Congrats on your first win, Spenser!
This second game was like a mirror image of the first. The pitching for the Orioles was not there, but that was to be expected. Matt Harvey was on the mound, and he did Matt Harvey things.
After just 3.2 innings, Harvey’s day was done. Six runs were the damage done, and half of them came before the Orioles ever picked up a bat. Granted, the Orioles got screwed on one of the weirdest plays you’ll ever see.
Ryan McKenna dove for a ball in left but was unable to catch it. Marcus Semien, the Blue Jay base runner on third, was confused, when the umpire ruled it a catch, and stood still. McKenna rose from the ground and fired to third, catching Semien off the bag.
However, the play was reviewed, and it was said that since it was originally called a catch, Semien is rewarded home because it is believed, had the play been called a hit initially, he would have scored. As wacky as it was, it gave Toronto a one-run lead, which quickly turned to three before the inning ended.
Unlike the night before, the Oriole bats were flat. The first run didn’t come until the fifth inning, and the Birds were already down by seven. With bases loaded and no outs, in classic Orioles fashion, Austin Hays hit into a sacrifice fly for that one run. That was followed by a double play on a fly out to right field and a tag out at home plate on Austin Wynns, who tried to score. Four base runners, no outs, and just one run.
The second and final run came in the eighth. Ryan Mountcastle singled home Mancini, and the Orioles cut the deficit to 10-2.
The bullpen was not great in relief of Harvey. Adam Plutko, César Valdez, and Zac Lowther combined for four runs allowed and just three strikeouts. The offense didn’t help much either, as they went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Matt Harvey took the loss and moves to 3-10 on the year.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Austin Hays. In a lopsided game, where it didn’t mean much, Hays still went 2-for-4, bringing home one of the O’s two runs on the night.
The O’s look to end the half-way point of the season on a high note, as they take on the Chicago White Sox in a three-game set. The series begins Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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