This game really had the potential to suck. I mean, it wasn't ideal, but it could've been one of those games where this recap is just me whining into a word document. There were so many dumb and terrible things that happened in the first inning, it's kinda incomprehensible that this game was fun. The A's lost, but it was a well-played game with some surprising contributors and a decent, although abbreviated, comeback.
And most importantly: they took the series against a very good Blue Jays team.
Obviously, the big news that came out of today's game was Rich Hill. He was forced to leave the game after five pitches due to a blister on his middle finger popping.
This is foreboding for a lot of A's fans, but I don't think it's that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. While not exactly being ideal, it's still a blister. No one has ever gotten chronic blister-related injuries. It's an entirely different story if we're talking about something really foreboding, like forearm tightness or shoulder soreness. But it's a blister.
If you're invested in seeing the trade return for him, I seriously doubt this impacts it significantly. If you just enjoy watching Hill pitch, you'll probably get another start from him in an A's uniform now. Everyone wins. Aside from Rich Hill and his poor finger.
Once Hill was out, Andrew Triggs was called in to be the long man. And Josh Donaldson immediately launched a line drive into Triggs's leg.
Today was not kind to pitchers.
Luckily, Triggs was well enough to be able to stay in, but only for the inning. After that, tomorrow's scheduled starter, Sean Manaea had to come out of the bullpen to give the A's a little bit of length. Manaea would end up being the hero of the game, doing completely admirable work out of the bullpen with essentially zero time to prepare. He allowed a Troy Tulowitzki homer in the fourth inning to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead, but that was all the Jays could do against him.
Five innings, four strikeouts, no walks, with zero idea he would be pitching this afternoon. An absolutely fantastic job.
The A's offense couldn't get much going against J.A. Happ in the early going, until the 6th inning. Things unraveled for him there, starting with Marcus Semien's 20th HR of the season. Last year, Josh Reddick lead the team in HRs with exactly 20.
After a single and a walk, J.A. Happ was removed in favor of old friend, Jesse Chavez. The Curse of the Former A's had no effect on Yonder Alonso, and he managed to hammer a two-run double into left-center, tying the game up at three.
Unfortunately, that's where the fun stopped. John Axford was called in to pitch the ninth with the game tied, and, after allowing two really dinky, unlucky singles, Josh Donaldson doubled to drive in the winning runs. Because it wouldn't be a Blue Jays series without Josh Donaldson heroics, would it?
Hey – after a disaster of a first inning, the A's could've given up. They didn't. As far as I'm concerned, that's the story of the game.