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Jays miss out on sweep, enjoy Opening Week

Toronto doesn't homer for first time this year, goes 4-3 on homestand
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays did not get the three-game sweep they were seeking Wednesday night, but John Gibbons' crew can take some consolation from a solid Opening Week to the season.

Toronto had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 loss to the White Sox at Rogers Centre, but that was not quite enough to sour an otherwise positive homestand. After dropping the first two games of the season, the Blue Jays bounced back and took four of the next five games.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays did not get the three-game sweep they were seeking Wednesday night, but John Gibbons' crew can take some consolation from a solid Opening Week to the season.

Toronto had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 loss to the White Sox at Rogers Centre, but that was not quite enough to sour an otherwise positive homestand. After dropping the first two games of the season, the Blue Jays bounced back and took four of the next five games.

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Four wins in seven games might not sound like much, but it at least helped the Blue Jays avoid a similar start to the one they had in 2017. Last season, Toronto got off to its worst start in franchise history and did not hit the four-win mark until Game No. 16. This start has been a completely different story.

"I like the way we played," Gibbons said. "I thought it was a pretty good homestand after the way it started. I like what I'm seeing. I think we're playing a pretty good brand of baseball. We've been swinging the bats, and if a couple of key guys in that lineup get some things going, we'll be that much better."

The Blue Jays were looking for their first sweep of the White Sox since May 2009 but had to settle for a series victory, after Jose Abreu hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning off setup man Ryan Tepera.

Video: CWS@TOR: Morales belts a game-tying RBI knock in th

The Blue Jays had two-hit nights from Justin Smoak and Curtis Granderson while Kendrys Morales, Russell Martin and Steve Pearce each chipped in with RBI singles. Right-hander Aaron Sanchez left with a no-decision after he surrendered three runs on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven. Lots of positives can be found in there, but there are some downsides too, as Devon Travis has just one hit in 20 at-bats and Randal Grichuk has two in 23.

"I thought it was really good, to be honest," Sanchez said of the homestand. "We lost a couple of heartbreakers in the first series against New York, and then today, but we were in games all the way until the end. Not just the starters, even the bullpen coming in and doing their part, they kept us in it and actually won us a few games this homestand. If we can continue to do that I think we're in good shape."

Video: CWS@TOR: Travis, Ngoepe turn two to end threat in 6th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trouble in relief: The bullpen has been one of Toronto's early strengths this season but it ran into some issues in the series finale. Tepera, who entered with three scoreless innings under his belt, allowed a solo homer to the first batter he faced. Abreu's second of the year came on a 3-0 pitch and was projected by Statcast™ to travel 430 feet after leaving his bat at 111 mph. While the Blue Jays' bullpen has been solid, home runs remain an area of concern with five opposing homers in seven games.

"That is something that I don't really like, the 3-0," Abreu said through an interpreter after the game. "But the situation that I got, they [gave me the green light]."

Video: CWS@TOR: Abreu crushes a go-ahead solo homer in 8th

Battling back: The Blue Jays entered the bottom of the sixth trailing by two but Josh Donaldson led off with a single, and Smoak followed with a double to put a pair of runners on base. Pearce and Morales delivered RBI singles as the Blue Jays tied the game at 3. Toronto seemed well positioned to add even more, but Grichuk struck out with a runner on third and Kevin Pillar grounded out to short to end the inning as the rally was cut short.

"I've seen it a lot, guys get traded or free agent, they try and do so well out of the gates and they press," Gibbons said of Grichuk. "Baseball is a sport, the harder you try the worse you get. He's feeling it a little bit right now but he's not the only one. You see some signs that he's just missing some pitches and when he gets some more consistency there he should do some damage."

Video: CWS@TOR: Pearce rips an RBI single to left field

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays did not hit a home run for the first time this season, which snapped a streak of six consecutive games with a home run. That streak is tied for the second longest in franchise history to start the season and trails the nine-game streak that Toronto had in 1994.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Granderson appeared to make a spectacular catch during the fifth inning, but instant replay changed all of that and more. Yoan Moncada was batting with the bases loaded and one out when he lifted a fly ball to deep left field that initially appeared as though it might leave the park. Granderson tracked it to the wall and then attempted to make a leaping catch.

At first glance it appeared as though the ball bounced off Granderson's glove and popped into the air. As Granderson fell onto his back, he managed to grab the ball and third-base umpire Jerry Layne signaled for the out. The White Sox were so caught off guard that the runner on third did not tag up and and instead everyone remained at their base.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria then asked for the umpiring crew to take a closer look, and the replays showed the ball bounced off the top of the wall before making contact with Granderson's glove. Moncada was awarded a single and each runner moved up one base as the White Sox took a 2-1 lead.

Video: CWS@TOR: Granderson's juggling grab gets overturned

"I went out and there was no way that I could ever tell that the ball was trapped, hit the wall or anything," Layne said. "What I thought happened is that the ball hit the glove, went up and he was able, it appeared to me, to secure it before it hit the ground. I have an out which is now a no-catch. But we don't know that until the White Sox come out and say they'd like to challenge.

"We go and tell Toronto's manager, Gibbons, that if they challenge overturn this, there would be a placement of runners in New York. We don't place the runners, replay handled all that. That was completely out of our hands. That's what that was all about."

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: The club will enjoy a day off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Arlington against the Rangers. Right-hander Marco Estrada makes the start Friday night (8:05 ET), and he has a 3.74 ERA in six starts vs. Texas. Shortstop Aledmys Diaz is expected to return to the lineup after he missed Wednesday's game because of back spasms.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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