White Sox catcher was Jays right-hander's personal backstop in 2015
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- Dioner Navarro was the center of attention in his return to Toronto, and he capped the White Sox three-game sweep of the Blue Jays in a big way Wednesday night.
Navarro delivered the game-changing blow on the night with a two-out, two-run triple off Marco Estrada in the seventh inning of the White Sox 4-0 win over the Blue Jays. Navarro was Estrada's personal catcher in Toronto during the 2015 season, and he has been repeatedly credited by the right-hander for designing effective game plans and aiding his breakout season.
On this night, his former catcher used that knowledge against the 32-year-old righty, taking an 0-2 changeup from Estrada -- his signature out pitch -- to the right-center field gap to score Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera and put the White Sox up for good.
"Obviously, he caught me last year, he did a really good job with me," said Estrada, who earned a two-year, $26 million contract in the offseason. "I threw him a good changeup down and away, and he hit it. You just tip your hat.
"There's nothing else I could have done. I threw the ball exactly where I wanted it, he put a good swing on it. It's a good hitter."
Getting the opportunity to start full-time after Alex Avila was put on the disabled list, Navarro finished 4-for-12 with a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs the series, but the jovial catcher knew that Wednesday's gapper was the most important hit, getting the Sox on the board after missed scoring chances in the second and sixth innings.
"He pitched a great game tonight," Navarro said of Estrada. "It was a battle of pitchers, and I knew in that situation I had to make something happen. I was fortunate to get a changeup in the strike zone and put some good wood on it."
On the flip side, Navarro was equally effective with his game-calling ability. After receiving praise from Chris Sale on Tuesday night, Jose Quintana worked to the 32-year-old backstop for the fourth time in his five starts, and the lefty noted the chemistry they've built together in just a short amount of time.
Quintana finished the night with a season-high 10 strikeouts in six innings, starting a majority of batters with first-pitch strikes and crowding hitters inside with his fastball, a strategy the two have used very successfully early in the season. Quintana improved to 3-1 on the season, but more impressively he now hasn't allowed a run in consecutive outings, with Navarro behind the dish for both of them.
"It was awesome," Quintana said about Navarro's triple. "It was a good moment and a really good time. He was calling a good game all night. I tried to throw whatever he called and it worked for us."
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the White Sox on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.