Last in hitting with RISP, Blue Jays deliver

Bautista, Morales drive in runs in key spots

July 4th, 2017

NEW YORK -- Hits with runners in scoring position have been far too infrequent for this year's version of the Blue Jays, but the timely production was there during a 4-1 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday afternoon.
The Blue Jays picked up a pair of clutch hits during a four-run third inning and rode the early offense to their first victory in six games. It was just one win, but it's still a step in the right direction for an organization that has consistently ranked at the bottom of the Majors with men in scoring position.
Toronto entered play with a Major-League worst .222 average with RISP for a grand total of 133 hits. The Blue Jays typically do most of their damage with home runs, but clubs can't always win that way, and it's been the secondary offense that has been missing in action for weeks at a time. It was there on Tuesday.
"We got a couple of walks, a couple of mistakes and we hit them," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We found some holes."

All of Toronto's damage came off veteran lefty in the third. Sabathia retired the first eight batters of the game, but his outing came undone in rapid fashion. walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. drove him home with a single to right. Another run scored on a bases-loaded walk to , and then delivered a two-run single to left.

The early offense provided a rare lead for a Blue Jays starting pitcher. Lefty J.A. Happ took advantage by allowing one run over six strong innings to earn victory No. 3. Prior to Tuesday, Toronto had fallen behind in three consecutive games. A lack of overall offense was one reason, and so was a 6.37 ERA for the Blue Jays in the first inning of games, which ranked last in the American League.
Neither one of those things was an issue in New York.
"It's one of those things, no matter what you say, your focus and aggression is just that much better," Happ said of getting the early lead. "That little bit when it's a tight ballgame, especially in this ballpark, with those hitters, it can be nerve racking, and you can be a little hesitant at times, too. It's nice to get that lead early and just stay on the offensive."
Among the highlights on offense was picking up his first multi-hit game since June 22. Morales earned his first multi-RBI game since June 18, and Bautista drove in RBI No. 900 for his career. One noticeable downside that's still there, Toronto has scored in only three of its last 25 innings at Yankee Stadium.
"We battled," Gibbons said. "We needed that. We've been scuffling."