The non-waiver trade deadline came and went and Marco Estrada was still a member of the Blue Jays. The relief he’s felt at staying in Toronto has shown in his performances.
Estrada has struck out 18 while walking six over 21 innings in his three starts since the deadline with a tidy 1.71 earned-run average including Thursday’s seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win over the Yankees. In the three starts before the deadline when trade rumours were swirling, he walked 11 and struck out 12 over 13 1/3 innings to go along with a ballooning 7.56 ERA.
“It is a little weight off your shoulders once you realize you aren’t going anywhere,” said Estrada, who struck out six while walking three and surrendering five hits in Thursday’s win. “I know we still have a month and things could happen, but I’m really not thinking about it anymore. It’s nice to be here still.”
Josh Donaldson and Kevin Pillar had RBI singles and Ezequiel Carrera scored on a fielder’s choice as the Blue Jays (54-60) improved to 7-6 against the Yankees (60-53) this season while taking two games in the three-game series. Jose Bautista added a solo home run in the seventh.
Estrada (5-7) picked up his first win since a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on May 27 — a span of 12 starts.
“He was a hot topic of trade rumours for the longest time and then the last two starts have been after the trade deadline, maybe that was on his mind a little bit too,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said before the game. “First start was after the deadline, he’s still here. Maybe now it eases his mind that he knows that he’s here.”
Pivotal 5th inning
The right-handed Estrada got into his first jam of the evening in the fifth inning, surrendering a leadoff single to Garrett Cooper and then walking Ronald Torreyes. However, Estrada got both Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks to fly out before catching Aaron Judge looking to end the threat.
“What I’m usually kind of good at is not paying attention to that stuff,” Estrada said of the fifth inning. “I try and look at [the catcher’s] glove and hit it. That’s basically it, that’s all I’m worried about. I know if I hit my spot on most pitches, I can be successful. I don’t let that kind of stuff get to me.”
The Blue Jays got on the board in the second thanks to some heads up base running by Carrera. The right-fielder reached on a double off the wall in right,…