Thursday, August 21, 2014

Game of the Day (8/20/14)

Blue Jays 9, Brewers 5. Toronto's RA Dickey, 39 years old and working on his third consecutive year leading the league in games started, faced Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson, who is 25 and was making the ninth start of his career.

Nelson allowed a leadoff single to Jose Reyes and threw a wild pitch, but stranded the fleet leadoff man at second. Ryan Braun singled in the home first and was erased on an inning-ending forceout. Josh Thole singled and Munenori Kawasaki walked in the top of the second, but Dickey struck out to leave them both on, and Milwaukee took the lead in the bottom of the inning when Gerardo Parra and Jean Segura both doubled.

Jose Bautista doubled in the top of the third, but the rest of the Jays failed to advance him from there; Dickey then retired the Brewers in order in the bottom of the inning. In the fourth, Colby Rasmus led off with a walk and Danny Valencia singled, but Thole hit into a double play and Kawasaki flied out. A Parra triple and a Mark Reynolds double then increased Milwaukee's lead to 2-0.

Toronto rallied in the fifth, starting with a one-out Reyes double. Melky Cabrera doubled to score Reyes, then came home on a two-out single by Edwin Encarnacion, tying the game. Milwaukee recaptured the lead in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Gomez was hit by a pitch, Jonathan Lucroy singled him to third, and Braun reached on a Valencia error that allowed Gomez to score the tiebreaker (he would have come home anyway, since Valencia was going for the force at second).

The Jays struck again in the top of the sixth. Thole and Kawasaki hit back-to-back one-out doubles, equalizing the score at 3. Dickey whiffed for the second out, and Zach Duke came in for Nelson. Duke allowed a go-ahead RBI single to Reyes, which was followed by a Cabrera single, a Brandon Kintzler relief appearance in Duke's place, and a double steal that put the runners at second and third. Bautista then launched a 3-run homer to augment the lead to 7-3. Milwaukee mounted a slight comeback in the bottom of the inning when Segura singled and Gomez homered, chasing Dickey in favor of Aaron Sanchez, but still trailed by 2 at the end of the inning.

Tom Gorzelanny worked a 1-2-3 top of the seventh; Sanchez allowed an Aramis Ramirez walk and a Scooter Gennet single that put runners at the corners, but retired Reynolds to leave them there. Jeremy Jeffress countered a walk with a double play in the top of the eighth; Segura drew a walk and Gomez singled against Brett Cecil in the bottom of the inning, so Dustin McGowan was summoned and induced a double play from Lucroy. Toronto put the game away against Will Smith in the ninth when Encarnacion singled and Rasmus homered, and Casey Janssen set the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the inning to end it.

Despite having been effectively decided in the sixth inning, this game still scores respectably well - it lands in the 86th percentile for the season to date. The Brewers didn't exactly have the edge in the pitching matchup, but they hung onto the lead for a while - at least until the Blue Jay offense erupted and started availing itself of phrases like "all eight starting position players reached base multiple times," and "seven of eight starters either scored or drove in a run, and five were involved in multiple runs."

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