Already with four hits on the day, Corey Patterson puncuated one of the best games of his career with a walkoff homer as the Blue Jays edged the White Sox 9-8 in 14 innings Saturday.
The Blue Jays survived today after the White Sox scored in both the eighth and ninth innings to send it to extras. Working the ninth, beleaguered Jays closer Frank Francisco blew his second straight save and gave up a run for the sixth time in 11 appearances this month.
Patterson had his third career five-hit game and first since 2006. He singled four times before taking Gavin Floyd deep in the 14th. Floyd took the loss in his first relief appearance since 2007.
Patterson scored a career-high four of the Jays’ nine runs.
Of course, no Jays recap would be complete without a Jose Bautista mention: he hit homer No. 20 in the first inning, a three-run shot off Edwin Jackson. He ended the game 3-for-4 with two walks.
The Jays returned to .500 at 26-26 by winning their second straight game.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.