Blue Jays rally twice; sweep doubleheader with Phillies

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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The rally caps certainly worked for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at Sahlen Field. In fact, they worked twice.

The Blue Jays returned home for their lone home games of the week in Buffalo, a doubleheader with the Philadelphia Phillies, and the team came back late in both games to win and sweep the doubleheader.

In Game 1, Bryce Harper got the scoring going right away in the first inning with a opposite field solo home run to left field, off the screen, off of Blue Jays starter Chase Anderson. It was Harper’s sixth home run of the season.

In the third inning, the Phillies added to their lead as Andrew McCutchen singled home Roman Quinn after Quinn had stolen second base and made it to third on a throwing error to put Philadelphia up 2-0.

In the fourth, Toronto got their offense going with three singles from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joe Panik and Reese McGuire that loaded the bases for Santiago Espinal, who hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Guerrero Jr. to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1.

In the sixth, Cavan Biggio hit a double to right-center that scored Billy McKinney that tied the game 2-2.

In the seventh, Teoscar Hernandez singled, which was immediately followed by a single from Guerrero Jr, and Hernandez advanced to third base on the hit. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then hit a high-bouncing ground ball over Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm to win the first game, 3-2 on a walk-off single.

Jays pitcher Jordan Romano picked up the win, pitching a perfect seventh inning, striking out all three batters he faced.

*****

In Game 2, it was a dreadful start for Toronto.

The Phillies roughed up Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton immediately. After back-to-back singles from McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins, Harper was then walked. Didi Gregorius singled to score the game’s first run and Bohm singled to put Philadelphia up 2-0 without an out even being registered. The bats stayed hot for the Phillies in the first inning, as they added another run to go up 3-0 on a sacrifice fly from Neil Walker. Then, Andrew Knapp doubled to left-center field to score another run to make it a 4-0 game. That ended the day early for Thornton, as he was pulled after only getting two batters out. Before the inning ended, the Phillies added more runs courtesy of McCutchen, who doubled to score three more runs. Philadelphia led 7-0 after the top half of the first inning. Thornton finished giving up five hits and six earned runs.

Despite the huge deficit, Toronto responded in the bottom half of the first with a two-run home run from Hernandez to left field to cut the Phillies lead to 7-2.

It remained a 7-2 ballgame until the bottom of the sixth. That’s when the Jays erupted for seven runs to grab the lead.

Lead by Rowdy Tellez, Toronto came back from the five-run deficit and grabbed the lead for good. Tellez homered in early portion of the sixth, clocked at 117 mph. It was the Blue Jays’ hardest-hit home run since Statcast started tracking the stat in 2015. That home run cut the Phillies lead to 7-3. A few batters later after Hernandez and Guerrero Jr. got on base, Gurriel Jr. hit a three-run home run to left-center to make the score 7-6. Danny Jansen scored to tie the game on a wild pitch from Phillies pitcher Hector Neris. Then, after Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk got on base, it was back to Tellez for more heroics. Tellez hit a two-run single to center field, scoring both Biggio and Grichuk to give the Blue Jays a two-run advantage at 9-7, heading to the final inning.

In the seventh, Philadelphia got the tying run to third base but could not convert in their final chance as Roman Quinn struck out swinging to end the game and the Blue Jays held on to win and sweep the doubleheader in dramatic fashion.

Toronto has now won five straight games and improved their Sahlen Field record to 4-3.

Up next, the Blue Jays go back on the road for a four-game series in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Toronto will return home to Buffalo on Tuesday to face the Boston Red Sox.

 

NOTES:
  • Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was in Buffalo on Thursday and took a tour of Sahlen Field to see the upgrades and work that had been done to get the ballpark ready for the Blue Jays arrival. Manfred had all positive things to say about what he saw. 
  • Toronto pitcher Julian Merryweather made his MLB debut, as he took over for Anderson in the fourth inning. He finished with three strikeouts and one hit allowed over 1.1 innings. 
  • Randal Grichuk had a memorable series earlier this week in Baltimore. Grichuk had 11 RBIs the series, tied for the second-most ever by a Blue Jays player in a three-game set. Josh Phelps holds the record with 13 RBI in a three-game series in 2004 against the Seattle Mariners. 
  • Phillies pitcher Jose Alvarez was carted off the field after being hit by a line drive in the midsection in the fifth inning of Game 1. 
  • In Game 2, Toronto erased a seven-plus run deficit to win for the ninth time in team history (last: 7/27/19 vs. Tampa Bay) 
  • According to Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb from The Athletic, the Phillies played in Buffalo for the first time in 135 years. The last time they were there, Buffalo didn’t have enough players. Here’s some of the write up from the game from The Buffalo Times from 1885.

The Phillies are in Buffalo today for the first time in 135 years, and the last time they were there, Buffalo didn’t have enough players. The saddest game story ever was written. We’re going to 1885, baby: https://t.co/NTHO55ItWQ pic.twitter.com/xm120IkUQG

— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 20, 2020