Smoak leads Blue Jays to extra innings win
The thrill of a walk-off win still hasn’t gotten old for Justin Smoak. Even after ten years in Major League Baseball.
Smoak drove in the game-winning run during the 11th inning as the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 5-4 victory on Sunday.
The Blue Jays were trailing 4-1 as they entered the bottom of the inning. However, a three-run homer by Brandon Drury off A’s closer Blake Treinen levelled it up. Before, Smoak stroked a single to left field to bring home Freddy Galvis for the winning run.
“It’s awesome any time you can get a walkoff,” said Smoak. “Especially in the position we were in there and against one of the best closers in the game.”
Eric Sogard was only a triple short of the cycle for the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went one for four in his third MLB start. He drew cheers with each at-bat. Furthermore, he also reached base in the second inning on a fielding error.
“Honestly, I think over the past couple of weeks we’ve been better offensively,” said Smoak. “I feel like we’ve been pitching well all year, so as long as we can keep scoring runs, we’ve got a chance.”
Trent Thornton gave up a run on two strikes and five walks. However, he struck out seven in a five-inning no decision. However, it was an improved performance for the rookie. He gave up a total of 13 runs over 12 2/3 innings over his past three starts — all of these ending in defeat.
“I just felt like I was more aggressive with it today. I was trying to get ahead in the count,” said Thornton. “It’s probably the most walks I’ve ever had in my career, but I felt like I was being aggressive and going after hitters.”
Daniel Hudson, Ken Giles, Joe Biagini, and Ryan Tepera each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Also, Thomas Pannone gave up three runs in 1 2/3 inning of work. Elvis Luciano earnt the first win of his career on just one out.
Kendrys Morales and Ramon Laureano drove in runs in the 11th for Oakland (14-16), while Khris Davis went 2 for 5 with an RBI double.
Blue Jays traded Morales to Oakland at the start of the season, and he singled to centre field in the top of the 11th. This sent Stephen Piscotty to third. The A’s right-fielder then scored on Laureano’s deep flyball to centre field.
It was Drury’s crucial second home run in three nights. He had previously hit the game-winning two-run homer in the victory over Oakland on Friday.
“I think baseball’s a game of confidence and getting big hits and homers is going to give you confidence,” said Drury after the first extra-innings homer of his career. “I was excited about that walk-off (on Friday), and hopefully I can keep riding this wave here.”
Sogard opened the scoring in the final of the first inning off with a home run to right field. This highlights the second time in three fixtures where the Blue Jays shortstop has led a play with a solo shot to right field. As he did the same thing during the Blue Jays win on Friday.
Davis tied it 1-1 in the third inning, driving the ball to deep left field for a stand-up double and giving Chapman enough time to score from first.