BOSTON – Mike Bolsinger accomplished a rare feat before surrendering the decisive home run in the Toronto Blue Jays’ marathon loss to the Boston Red Sox, becoming just the second pitcher in franchise history to strike out four batters in a single inning.
The right-hander struck out Mitch Moreland to open the 13th before Jackie Bradley Jr. also went down swinging on a slider in the dirt that went as a wild pitch and allowed him to reach first. Bolsinger then recovered to strike out Deven Marrero and Christian Vazquez to join Steve Delabar as the only Blue Jays to accomplish the feat.
“That would be a first (at any level),” Bolsinger said after a 5-4, 15-inning loss Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve seen it. That’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed or seen it. It was fun.”
Bolsinger struck out six batters in total over 3.1 innings before Hanley Ramirez turned on a curveball and launched it 439 feet to end a four hour 59 minute affair. Long known for a tremendous curveball, four of his six strikeouts came via a slider that’s becoming an important weapon for him.
“To have two different off-speed pitches that have different spin and different look at the batter is really crucial for me,” said Bolsinger. “I don’t light up the radar gun. I wish I could, but it’s fun going out there and seeing how guys react to those off-speed pitches. I like to throw them. If I could, I’d throw them all the time, but I can’t do that obviously. My stuff is starting to come together. My mechanics feel good. Everything feels good so I’m just going to keep rolling.”
Bolsinger is out of options and has been twice designated for assignment already this season, but has also made five starts for the Blue Jays in between stints in Buffalo.
He’s been up since just before the all-star break to provide some length in the bullpen and while he feels he can succeed as a multiple-innings reliever, his plan is to “just keep doing what I’m doing.”
“The last time I got sent down, I remember it was the last four innings of the game against Cincinnati, I told Pete (Walker), I think I figured something out and I want to keep this rolling,” he continued. “I got sent down and kept it rolling down there. Whatever I figured out mechanics-wise, I had it down there and brought it back here and I’m just going to keep rolling with it.”