The Canadian Press
TORONTO–Marco Estrada won’t think about the possibility of being traded–even as the post-season roster deadline on Aug. 31 approaches.
Estrada allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings as the Toronto Blue Jays held off the Baltimore Orioles for a 5-3 win last night.
The 35-year-old right-handed veteran could be an attractive trade target for a playoff contender as the Jays look to build for the future.
“Listen, right now, I’m a Blue Jay. I’ve said it a million times, I love playing here. This is my main concern,” said Estrada (7-9), who allowed seven hits while striking out four.
“If [a trade] happens, then, whoever that move is to, then I’ll focus on that.
“Right now I’m here, I’m a Blue Jay, I’m focused on playing here,” he stressed. “Plain and simple.”
Estrada had a 5.68 ERA in his first 11 games of the season but has a 4.10 ERA in his past 11 starts.
Even though Estrada has struggled with his velocity lately, topping out at 86 m.p.h., he feels like he has good command.
“I was happy with the locating,” he remarked.
“There was maybe two or three hard hit balls, and that’s going to happen, but for the most part, I felt like we were in control, especially after we scored a bunch of runs.”
Kendrys Morales hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot in the four-run sixth inning, for Toronto (56-69).
Kevin Pillar added two doubles and an RBI a day after a costly base-running error angered manager John Gibbons.
Pillar was caught trying to steal third base for the final out of the sixth inning in Sunday’s 10-2 loss in New York.
After Pillar hit the first double in the first inning last night, Gibbons turned to a TV camera in the Jays’ dugout, smiled, and gave a thumb’s up.
“I’m trying to go out there and help us win games every day,” said Pillar, who felt he had nothing to make up for.
“It feels good to go out there and contribute, but nothing new to me.”
Ryan Tepera, Jaime Garcia, Tyler Clippard, and Ken Giles came out of the bullpen to preserve Toronto’s lead.
Giles earned his 16th save of the season.
Andrew Cashner (4-11) gave up five runs over six innings before reliever Mike Wright Jr. took over.
Wright pitched a scoreless inning, as did Mychal Givens.
Renato Nunez had a solo homer for Baltimore (37-88).
Pillar hit his second double of the night in the fifth–driving in a run for a 2-1 Toronto lead.
Morales piled on two batters later, crushing the ball 437 feet for a three-run shot.
The long ball was his 16th of the season and made it Morales’ 22nd multi-homer game in his big-league career.
“The second one he threw me a meatball, pretty much,” Morales said through a translator.
“I hit it much better than the first one.”
Nunez answered for the Orioles in the sixth inning, putting a solo shot over the left-centre field wall to make it 5-2.
Craig Gentry followed that with a double to left field but Curtis Granderson misplayed the ball, allowing the Baltimore veteran to reach third on an error.
That ended Estrada’s night and brought in Tepera.
Catcher Caleb Joseph put a sharply-hit double to centre field to cash in Gentry before Tepera induced a pair of ground-outs to end the inning.
Toronto’s bullpen shut the door for the next three innings, with Giles getting a flyout and two ground-outs in the ninth inning to earn the save.
Jays’ rookie catcher Danny Jansen hit a ground-rule double in the fourth inning, extending his hit streak to six games since he made his big-league debut on Aug. 13.
Elsewhere in the AL, Chicago beat Minnesota 8-5, Cleveland edged Boston 5-4, Tampa Bay nipped Kansas City 1-0, Oakland dumped Texas 9-0, and Seattle upended Houston 7-4.
Over in the NL, Atlanta shaded Pittsburgh 1-0, San Francisco edged New York 2-1 (13 innings), Milwaukee beat Cincinnati 5-2, and St. Louis downed L.A. 5-3.