Borucki delivers quality, but Blue Jays fall in 10
TORONTO -- Ryan Borucki has quality starts in his first three Major League outings, but the Blue Jays rookie is still searching for his first career win.
The 24-year-old continued to show why he's solidified a spot in Toronto's rotation, pitching around seven Yankees hits, giving up only one run in a 2-1 loss at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon. He's now shut down two of the top three offences in baseball, holding the Yankees and Astros to just three runs over 13 innings.
"It's a confidence boost," Borucki said. "These lineups are some of the best lineups in baseball. I mean, I don't really care who I go against, I'm going to pitch the same way as I always do."
The Blue Jays' bullpen bridged the gap to the 10th, when manager John Gibbons turned the ball over to Tyler Clippard. The 33-year-old plunked Greg Bird, who was lifted for pinch-runner Tyler Wade. After a sacrifice bunt moved Wade to second, Brett Gardner hit a line-drive single to left field. Teoscar Hernandez came in charging, but he couldn't get Wade, who was safe at home for the winning run.
With the one-run outing, Borucki joined Ricky Romero as the only Blue Jays pitchers to pitch six or more innings without surrendering three runs in their first three Major League starts. He also tied Marc Rzepczynski for the second most strikeouts by a Blue Jays starter in his first three career starts with 16, falling just two shy of Jerry Garvin's 1977 record of 18.
Drafted as an 18-year-old in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, Borucki has shown that his strong command can overcome his lack of velocity. He relies heavily on a sinker that tops out at 92 mph, with a changeup that held opposing hitters to just .067 in his previous two starts.
"For a starter, he's got movement," Gibbons said. "He changes speeds, he moves the ball around. There's been a lot of good left-handers, winning left-handers that didn't throw hard, but they pitch. I think he's got that."
New York threatened early, with a pair of hits in both the first and second innings, but Borucki escaped, allowing only one run, on an RBI groundout by Miguel Andujar in the first. From there, he allowed just three hits over the next five innings, striking out four.
"I thought he was tremendous today," Gibbons said. "I thought he was a little bit more off command-wise than he was in his previous two ones. He got better as the game went on."
Yankees starter Domingo German kept Toronto in check, allowing only one run over six innings. He struck out five, but Kendrys Morales got to him in the sixth for a solo shot to right field.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gurriel ends Blue Jays' rally:Lourdes Gurriel Jr. stepped to the plate with two out and the bases loaded in the fourth inning. German jumped ahead, 0-2, on a called strike that appeared just outside the strike zone. Gurriel was unhappy with the call, and three pitches later, he struck out swinging on a low curveball to end the threat.
Morales hits 200th homer: Morales became the fifth Cuban-born player to reach the 200-homer plateau with a solo shot, his 10th of the season. Morales drove a German fastball a projected 373 feet over the right-field wall, according to Statcast™, tying the score at 1. Morales joins Rafael Palmeiro (569), Jose Canseco (462), Tony Perez (379) and Tony Oliva (220) as the only Cubans to reach the number. After a rough start to the season, Morales has turned it around, hitting .333 with six home runs and 10 RBIs over his last 26 games.
"It always feels good to hear those names," Morales said through an interpreter. "It just means I need to work harder and keep working and hit some more." More >
Justin Smoak doubled in the first inning and singled in the fourth to record his third consecutive multihit game, tying his career-long streak.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
First-base coach Tim Leiper was ejected by crew chief Bill Welke in the eighth after some confusion surrounding translator Eugene Koo's place on the mound during a pitching change involving reliever Seunghwan Oh. Leiper was unhappy with the umpire's decision to banish Koo and threw some equipment onto the field to show his displeasure.
"He said the coach has to be out on the mound when he's out there talking to the pitcher. That's the first I had heard of that," Gibbons said. "It's happened many times this year, and nobody has said a word. ... Unless there is a really new rule within the last few days, it hasn't happened before. We can adjust that, but I don't know what state secrets he's giving away."
The Blue Jays will send Marcus Stroman (1-6, 6.50 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday night at 7:35 ET in Atlanta. Stroman struggled with his command last time out, walking four Mets in 4 2/3 innings and allowing six runs. He pitched well in his two starts prior to July 4, giving up one run over 12 innings. The Braves counter with Julio Teheran (6-6, 4.47 ERA), who has scuffled in his last five starts, pitching to a 5.61 ERA.