Buehrle, Blue Jays can't hold early lead, fall in 10th
Davis hits second homer in two days, but bats silent after first inning
PHOENIX -- Just one day after being promoted from Triple-A Buffalo as September callups, Luis Perez and Jeremy Jeffress were thrown right into the fire on Wednesday, working out of the bullpen late in a tie game.
But while both relief pitchers showed glimpses of why the club wants to see what they can do this month, the end result left the team on the wrong side of a walk-off victory in 10 innings.
After Perez allowed a one-out single in the 10th, Jeffress surrendered consecutive hits, the latter of which was a lined rope off the bat of Willie Bloomquist past a drawn in Toronto infield to drive in the game-winning run, as the Blue Jays coughed up an early lead and failed to complete the three-game sweep, falling 4-3 to the D-backs at Chase Field.
"It was just one of those games, they are a really good comeback team and they played well," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They've just got some good hitters over there."
Making his first Major League appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, Perez struck out the final batter of the ninth and the leadoff man in the 10th before veteran third baseman Eric Chavez knocked a single up the middle, ending his outing. But despite Perez taking the loss, Gibbons felt the 28-year-old handled himself well.
"He did a nice job coming in, that was good to see," Gibbons said. "He's come a long way back, so it was nice to see that."
As for Jeffress, who had a 1.39 ERA in 32 1/3 innings in the Minors this year, Wednesday marked just his second big league outing of the season and first since April 5. The flame-throwing right-hander hit 100-mph on the radar gun, but A.J. Pollock and Bloomquist managed to catch up with the heater and hit the back-to-back singles to end the game.
"I just was trying to hit a ball to the outfield the first couple of pitches, and the second one he blew me away," Bloomquist said. "I don't think I started swinging until the ball was in the glove and I said 'Geez, I knew he had a good arm, but I haven't seen that in a while. I'll have to start a little bit sooner on the next one.' Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit and was able to get the good part of the bat on it."
Gibbons, although impressed with Jeffress' electric stuff, thought the D-backs got to him because they were just sitting on the fastball.
"He's got a little slider and a split he has messed with, but he's got that dominating fastball that he relies on. You're going to need them all though and today was a perfect example," Gibbons said. "He's got the arm, he's just gotta settle in and establish himself at this level."
Offensively, it was a mixed bag for the Blue Jays.
Just like they did on Monday and Tuesday, the club came out swinging, scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning off D-backs starter Randall Delgado. Edwin Encarnacion ripped an RBI double down the left-field line before Rajai Davis smashed a fastball into the left-field bleachers for a two-run shot. It was Davis' second home run in as many days and fourth of the season.
Those three quick runs were all the Blue Jays would get, as Toronto managed only two singles -- both of which were eventually erased by a double plays -- and struck out nine times in the final nine innings. According to STATS LLC, the Blue Jays were the first team to play an extra-inning game and leave zero runners on base since the Reds did it in 1970.
Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle kept the D-backs at bay for the majority of his outing, but a couple of miscues left him with a no-decision.
After a fielding error by Encarnacion led to a two-run second inning for Arizona, a Buehrle a leadoff walk in the seventh ended up haunting the veteran, as Chavez tied the game on a sacrifice fly following a one-single.
"There were plenty of times I missed with some pitches, but that leadoff walk, it just always seems like it comes back to bite you," Buehrle said. "I definitely want that back. I told myself I'd throw a changeup and make it a strike so he'd have to put the ball in play or swing and miss. I just pulled it and it wasn't even close. That was bad."
Still, Buehrle gave up just the three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. The outing marked the 34-year-old's fifth straight quality start dating back to Aug. 15 and pushed his unbeaten streak to nine starts dating back to July 20.
"I've got a couple more starts left and I'm going to go out there and try to finish the season strong," he said. "Personally, I feel like I'm back to where I've been throughout my career, I just wish we were in a better spot than we are."