NEW YORK – Starts like the one J.A. Happ delivered in Wednesday afternoon’s 12-1 pounding of the New York Mets have been hard to come by for the Toronto Blue Jays through the first month and a half of the 2018 season.
The left-hander, bouncing back from a miserable outing against the Seattle Mariners in which he allowed seven earned runs in 3.1 innings, grinded through a steady rain that ranged from drizzle to heavy to dominate for seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits with 10 strikeouts.
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It was exactly what the Blue Jays (22-21) needed after a 12-2 drubbing a night earlier in which Jaime Garcia lasted only 3.2 innings dropped them back to .500 for the first time since April 1. They had their pitching and offence in sync while improving to 6-9 this month ahead of a four-game series with the Oakland Athletics starting Thursday.
Rather than being forced to play catchup Wednesday, the offence could simply focus on doing damage against Zack Wheeler and that’s what happened. Justin Smoak opened the scoring with a solo shot in the first, a Teoscar Hernadez two-run shot in the fourth really opened things up and a three-spot in the fifth on Josh Donaldson’s RBI single and Smoak’s two-run double put things out of reach.
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There were three more runs in the sixth on a Donaldson sacrifice fly, Hernandez run-scoring single and Kevin Pillar RBI single, while in the ninth Richard Urena’s three-run homer padded things out.
As a bonus Happ added two hits, a walk and two runs – becoming the first Blue Jays pitcher to ever reach base three times in the same game and first pitcher to score twice since Roy Halladay on June 6, 2003.
Up until Brandon Nimmo’s solo …read more