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Toronto falls in extras, spoils Borucki's 2nd start

Smoak ties game in ninth on bases-loaded walk
MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays rallied in the ninth to force extra innings after a great outing from Ryan Borucki, but Toronto couldn't walk it off and fell 3-2 to the Tigers in 10 innings on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Justin Smoak came to the plate with an opportunity to hit his second walk-off of the series, but Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez walked him to tie the game then retired Luke Maile to send the game to extras. Seunghwan Oh allowed the winning run on a Niko Goodrum triple and Jose Iglesias sac fly in the 10th.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays rallied in the ninth to force extra innings after a great outing from Ryan Borucki, but Toronto couldn't walk it off and fell 3-2 to the Tigers in 10 innings on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

Justin Smoak came to the plate with an opportunity to hit his second walk-off of the series, but Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez walked him to tie the game then retired Luke Maile to send the game to extras. Seunghwan Oh allowed the winning run on a Niko Goodrum triple and Jose Iglesias sac fly in the 10th.

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Video: DET@TOR: Smoak ties game with walk in the 9th

For Borucki, making his second Major League start, the game almost got ugly early, but the 24-year-old left-hander made adjustments to give Toronto seven strong innings.

"In the first inning I was in a groove, pitches were down, change-up was working," Borucki said. "They just kind of ambushed me; saw the outside part of the plate."

After a quick strikeout to open the game, Borucki gave up four consecutive hits, surrendering a run and loading the bases to summon pitching coach Pete Walker out of the dugout. Borucki and Maile decided to start pitching the Tigers inside and the decision paid off. He forced James McCann to hit a dribbler back to the mound that Borucki flipped to home before Maile turned, and fired to first for an inning-ending double play.

Video: DET@TOR: Borucki induces DP to end the frame

Borucki settled down from there, sitting down the next 12 batters and striking out seven batters over the next four innings to finish with eight strikeouts.

"If you watch him throw five or six pitches, you kind of get the idea," Maile said of Borucki. "He knows what pitches go off of each other and he knows how to execute them."

In the sixth, bad luck and dodgy defence cost Borucki another run. Mikie Mahtook led off with an infield hit before Nicholas Castellanos hit a ground ball to second that Toronto couldn't turn into to a double play. After a single moved Mahtook to third, the Blue Jays had another chance to get out of the inning without surrendering a run, but John Hicks beat out the throw to first after grounding into a fielder's choice at second.

"He looked like he was in control, didn't ever panic," manager John Gibbons said.

Toronto's bullpen bridged the gap to extras, allowing just one hit in the ninth that was erased by Maile who threw out Jeimer Candelario at second. It was Maile's third caught baserunner in his last two starts raising his caught stealing rate to 39.4 per cent.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Teoscar Hernandez drove in the first run of the game for Toronto, a groundout to third that scored Curtis Granderson. The run came after a well-timed hit-and-run moved Granderson to third on Randal Grichuk's soft live drive to left field, resulting in a double.

Video: DET@TOR: Hernandez plates Granderson with a groundout

SOUND SMART
Borucki's eight strikeouts tie him with Roy Halladay for the second most strikeouts for a Blue Jays' starter in a home debut. José Nuñez holds the franchise record after striking out 11 on July 9, 1987 against the Royals. 

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kendrys Morales made his first career Major League appearance at third base in the 10th inning after Smoak pinch-hit for Aledmys Diaz and entered the game at first. After the game, Gibbons said Russell Martin's knee was "barking," but added that it wasn't serious and just didn't want to push his veteran catcher.

HE SAID IT
"If I could have a career like that guy had I'd be doing something right ... I got to watch him a lot when I was in Chicago growing up a White Sox fan. Hopefully I can live up to what he's done." -- Borucki, on wearing No. 56 for former Blue Jay Mark Buehrle

UP NEXT
Former Blue Jay Jose Bautista makes his long awaited return to Toronto as the Blue Jays get set for a two-game series against the Mets at 7:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The 37-year-old is hitting .218 with an .810 OPS in 48 games split between the Braves and Mets this season. Marco Estrada takes the mound for Toronto in the opener. After struggling to start the year, Estrada turned it around in June with a 2.35 ERA across five starts. The Mets will counter with Zack Wheeler, who has gone at least six innings in seven of his last eight starts.

Aaron Rose is an associate reporter for the Blue Jays.

Toronto Blue Jays, Ryan Borucki