TORONTO — Not even the return of leading batsman George Springer could knock the Toronto Blue Jays out of their August funk.
Springer returned from a 10-day stint on the disabled list with a right elbow injury and reached base three times, but the Blue Jays suffered a 7-3 loss to open the series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Monday.
The win was the ninth in 13 games for the Orioles (60-55), while the Blue Jays (61-53) continued to stumble with two wins in nine games.
Toronto was plagued by sloppy defense and poor pitching from starter Yusei Kikuchi (4-7) in the fourth inning, in which the visitors scored three goals.
“Not ideal back-to-back defensive plays, which gets a little emphasis,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said, referring to a chaotic defensive play in a loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday. “But overall the defense was great.
“You have to play good defense against everyone in the big leagues.”
The home side fell 3-0 down but rallied for two runs in the third inning thanks to a two-run single from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ahead of 26,769 at the Rogers Centre.
Kikuchi beat Austin Hays to start the fourth. But the next hitter, Jorge Mateo, reached base due to a throwing error by Bo Bichette.
Mateo moved up to second when Baltimore’s Terrin Vavra left and moved up to third after Kikuchi’s throwing error on a second base pickoff attempt.
A hard punch to Bichette unbalanced the Blue Jays shortstop, and his throw home to hit the speedy Mateo came too late.
A Ryan McKenna double to the left-center gap scored two more for a four-run Orioles lead.
“I felt like I was attacking the hitters early, but then I lost that rhythm,” Kikuchi said.
Kikuchi was only good for 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs (three unearned) on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
A single by Anthony Santander RBI in the first frame and a two-run blaster on the second deck by Ryan Mountcastle in the third inning gave the Orioles an early lead.
Baltimore scored another in the fifth with a sacrificial fly from Vavra. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who saw his 22-game winning streak end on Sunday, hit his team-leading 24th homer with an out in the fifth.
For now, Springer will be the Blue Jays’ designated batsman until his sore elbow heals enough to play in midfield. He went 2-for-4 with a left field line double down in the third inning, an infield hit in the seventh and a walk in the ninth.
With Springer’s return to his starting spot, Gurriel moved up the batting order from first to third.
Gurriel had two more hits. He has safely reached base in 38 of 44 games and is 61 to 171 (.357), his best major average since early June.
Gurriel’s .310 batting average is third in the American League behind Luis Arraez of Minnesota (.333) and Andres Gimenez of Cleveland (.312).
The Blue Jays have selected outfielder Bradley Zimmer to make room for Springer.
Baltimore starter Kyle Bradish went 4 2/3 innings and hit three runs with six hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Reliever Bryan Baker (4-3) was awarded the win.
The Blue Jays are now 15-11 since Schneider replaced Charlie Montoyo as manager.
TORONTO EYES TSUTSUGO
Schneider confirmed the Blue Jays are close to signing Yoshi Tsutsugo for a minor league deal. The outfielder/first baseman was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates last week.
Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah (12-5) meets right Dean Kremer (4-4) in the second game of the three-game tilt against Baltimore on Tuesday. Manoah is 1-0 in two undecided starts against the Orioles in 2022 and 2-0 in five career starts.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 15, 2022.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9062615/sloppy-blue-jays-beaten-up-by-surging-orioles-7-3-2/ Sloppy Blue Jays defeated by Orioles 7-3