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Barnes can't protect one-run lead in loss

MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' bullpen has been a major strength through the first month of the season, but Mookie Betts and the Red Sox don't seem to care.

Boston rallied for the second consecutive night against the Toronto relief corps, and unlike the previous game, this time the Blue Jays could not bounce back. Right-hander Danny Barnes surrendered the decisive two-run shot to Betts, who picked up his second of the game, in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' bullpen has been a major strength through the first month of the season, but Mookie Betts and the Red Sox don't seem to care.

Boston rallied for the second consecutive night against the Toronto relief corps, and unlike the previous game, this time the Blue Jays could not bounce back. Right-hander Danny Barnes surrendered the decisive two-run shot to Betts, who picked up his second of the game, in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

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The Blue Jays' bullpen is first in the American League with a 2.43 ERA, even after the past two nights, and their relievers rank in the top five of almost every major category. It would have been unrealistic to expect perfection every night, but the Blue Jays picked a bad time to regress back to the norm with the AL East's top team in town. Betts and his 2-for-5 game with three RBIs is a main reason why.

Video: Must C Combo: Betts hits two homers against Blue Jays

"He's at the top of the game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Betts. "He can beat you in so many ways. He's one of those guys who will be in the MVP running every year, I have to believe. But he'll beat you with his glove, too. He's at a different level than most of them."

Closer Roberto Osuna was charged with his first blown and first earned runs of the season on Tuesday night, but Curtis Granderson helped save the day in the bottom of the 10th with the fourth walk-off homer of his career. Toronto was not as fortunate the following game, as Barnes gave up the lead in the seventh and Boston's bullpen took it the rest of the way.

Video: BOS@TOR: Sanchez K's eight in solid start vs. Red Sox

Toronto carried a one-run lead into the top of the seventh after right-hander Aaron Sanchez was pulled from the game. Sanchez limited the Red Sox to a pair of runs on three hits and two walks while striking out eight in his fourth quality start of the season. Barnes, who entered this game with one earned run over 11 2/3 innings, was not as fortunate.

Barnes allowed a single to the second batter he faced and then served up an opposite-field homer to Betts, who picked up the 11th multihomer game of his career. That was the second home run of the season allowed by Barnes, and as good as he was last year with a 3.55 ERA over 66 innings, the fly-ball pitcher surrendered 11 home runs and has been known to be susceptible to the long ball.

"Tough one late in the game, but we knew it wasn't going to be easy facing these guys," Sanchez said of the Red Sox, who snapped their three-game losing streak.

Video: BOS@TOR: Pearce loses his bat on RBI single

Yangervis Solarte hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays while Steve Pearce added a pair of hits, including a double. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez picked up the victory for Boston after he allowed three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three. Toronto will need a victory on Thursday to avoid losing its second consecutive series to a division rival.

Video: BOS@TOR: Gibbons on Sanchez, Betts in Jays' 4-3 loss

"I think we missed some pitches that we could have hit," Solarte said through an interpreter when asked about Rodriguez's outing. "I think he got lucky a couple of times and we didn't take advantage of it. I think we made the adjustments a little bit, but I think he got lucky more than us got beat."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Setting the tone: Betts' second home run of the night was the deciding factor, but his first one of the game set the tone. Sanchez's first two pitches of the game were balls and his third was sent over the wall in left field for Betts' seventh home run of the season. It was his second multihomer game of the year and the second home run that Sanchez has allowed this season.

Video: BOS@TOR: Betts hits his third leadoff homer of 2018

"He's somebody that can get you quick," Sanchez said. "Like you saw tonight, they were up 1-0 three pitches into the game. You just try to limit damage from that spot. You try to be aggressive with your pitches. You try to get him out on your pitches and see if he'll chase on some things. I felt like my next two at-bats with him were very good. He put a good swing on a pitch that I thought was middle middle, and with a player like that, he's supposed to do that."

Solarte goes deep: Solarte gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the game when he hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning off Rodriguez. According to Statcast™, Solarte's sixth dinger of the year was projected to travel 434 feet and the ball left his bat at 107.5 mph. All of Solarte's home runs have been projected to travel at least 400 feet. His longest was 459 feet against Jesse Chavez and the Rangers on April 6.

"I don't think about numbers at all. I just try to do my job," Solarte said. "I just try to make contact. That's what I've been doing my whole career. The ball is just going farther than expected, but I'm just trying to make contact."

SOUND SMART
The Blue Jays have lost eight of their last nine games against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre dating back to last season. Toronto is 6-7 vs. the AL East this year and are now 3-2 in one-run games. The Blue Jays also dropped to 1-9 when scoring less than four runs.

UP NEXT
Right-hander Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32) has the unenviable task of facing Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86) when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday night at Rogers Centre. Estrada has experienced some issues with the long ball this season with six home runs allowed in four starts. He's coming off a year in which he surrendered a career-high 31 home runs over 33 starts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET.

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Danny Barnes, Steve Pearce, Aaron Sanchez, Yangervis Solarte

Donaldson inching closer to rehab assignment

Tulo sees foot specialist, cleared to start baseball activities
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has increased the intensity of his workouts in Florida and should be ready to begin a rehab assignment at some point later this week.

Donaldson is currently going through a throwing program at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. Donaldson has been out since April 10 because of right shoulder inflammation, but he appears to have turned a corner in recent days.

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TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson has increased the intensity of his workouts in Florida and should be ready to begin a rehab assignment at some point later this week.

Donaldson is currently going through a throwing program at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. Donaldson has been out since April 10 because of right shoulder inflammation, but he appears to have turned a corner in recent days.

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The 32-year-old has been going through long toss and is scheduled to begin throwing to bases in the very near future. Once cleared, Donaldson will begin a brief rehab assignment before rejoining the Blue Jays on the big league roster.

"I wouldn't think so," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said when asked if Donaldson would have to DH upon his return. "Occasionally he'd probably need it. But I think when he's good to go, when they sign off on it, he's here to play third base. That's my expectation."

Yangervis Solarte likely would move back into his super utility role once Donaldson returns from the DL. Solarte has been an early bright spot for the Blue Jays with five homers and a .842 OPS through his first 20 games of the year. The Venezuela native will continue to see some time at third, possibly some limited action at shortstop and he will push Devon Travis for playing time at second.

Toronto also provided a medical update on injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list after he had bone spurs removed from both of his feet during Spring Training. Tulowitzki had a follow-up with a foot specialist this week and was cleared to resume baseball activities.

"He's progressing well with all goals thus far, including range of motion, strength, walking time spent on feet," a team spokesman said while reading from a report. "He has been cleared to resume light baseball activities this week with hitting off a tee, playing catch and stationary ground balls.

"The time spent on his feet performing baseball work and otherwise will be monitored and addressed accordingly per the surgeon and medical team guidelines over the next several weeks. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks."

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki

Wednesday's top prospect performers

Blue Jays products impress in upper Minors
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

A plethora of Blue Jays prospects showcased their skills across multiple levels as a trio of the organization's top prospects led Triple-A Buffalo to a win and the top prospects in the system fared well for Double-A New Hampshire.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

A plethora of Blue Jays prospects showcased their skills across multiple levels as a trio of the organization's top prospects led Triple-A Buffalo to a win and the top prospects in the system fared well for Double-A New Hampshire.

The Fisher Cats were unable to win the game, but No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) and Bo Bichette (No. 13 overall, Blue Jays' No. 2) once again showed why they are ranked so high. Bichette, 20, went 2-for-5 with a double and is batting .303 after going 4-for-10 over his past two games.

Guerrero registers second RBI

Guerrero, also experiencing the Double-A level for the first time, put together his second three-hit game of the season and drove in a trio of runs, including a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Up at the Triple-A level, it was No. 47 overall prospect Anthony Alford (Blue Jay's No. 3), Ryan Borucki (No. 8) and Reese McGuire (No. 14) leading the Bisons to a win over Durham.

Alford and McGuire combined to go 4-for-6 with three RBIs and McGuire hit his first homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fourth, in the process.

On the mound, Borucki spun his best start of the season, giving up one run on five hits over six innings. The lefty also threw 61 of his 90 pitches for strikes, walked one and struck out seven, a season high.

Other top prospect performances from Wednesday's action:

• No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech (White Sox No. 2) put together another strong start for Triple-A Charlotte. Kopech, who has given up one earned run or fewer in three of his four starts, gave up one run on one hit in six innings. The right-hander walked two and also struck out eight, bringing his total to 29 through 21 innings this season.

Kopech fans eight

• No. 22 overall prospect Willy Adames (Rays' No. 2) continued his hot stretch with Triple-A Durham. Adames, who hit for the cycle on Monday, extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 effort. The 22-year-old has increased his average from .212 to .355 during that span and has two or more hits in three of his past four games. Rays No. 4 prospect Jesus Sanchez (No. 57 overall) also had a good game for Class A Advanced Charlotte, going 2-for-4 with a double and his fifth homer of the season.

• No. 48 overall prospect Justus Sheffield (Yankees' No. 3) continues to pile up the strikeouts with Double-A Trenton. The lefty gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings while striking out eight. Sheffield has spun 22 innings this season and collected 30 strikeouts.

• No. 50 overall prospect Adrian Morejon (Padres' No. 6) was lights-out for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. After giving up four runs in his last start, Morejon limited the damage this time around to one run on two hits. The lefty also struck out five in as many innings.

• No. 95 overall prospect Adam Haseley (Phillies' No. 6) is heating up for Class A Advanced Clearwater. After going 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, Haseley has two hits in four of his past five games and at least one hit in 12 of his last 13. He's also increased his batting average from .200 to .280 in that span.

Post game Interview: Haseley

Angels No. 11 prospect Jesus Castillo was nearly flawless for seven innings with Double-A Mobile. The 22-year-old right-hander didn't surrender a hit and threw 51 of his 70 pitches for strikes in his first scoreless start of the season. Castillo struck out four and only allowed one baserunner via a hit batter.

Castillo notches the K

Braves No. 16 prospect Dustin Peterson put together his second straight three-hit day for Triple-A Gwinnett. Peterson, who went 3-for-5 with a double and a homer, is 6-for-10 with two homers and six RBIs over his past two games.

Indians No. 7 prospect Will Benson showed off some power with his third career two-homer game. Benson went 2-for-3 with a pair of solo home runs for Class A Lake County in Game 1 of a doubleheader, a game that also featured a no-hitter.

Orioles prospects Cedric Mullins (No. 7) and Keegan Akin (No. 9) led Double-A Bowie to a win over Richmond. Mullins extended his hitting streak to six games with a 2-for-4 performance that included a double and a solo homer. On the mound, Akin yielded just three hits and struck out five across six scoreless innings. The 23-year-old gave up seven runs over nine innings to start the season but has since allowed just one run in his past 12 frames.

Twins No. 14 prospect Travis Blankenhorn hit a pair of solo homers for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Blankenhorn, who has four home runs this season, has gone deep three times over the past three games. The two-homer game also marked his first of the season and the second of his career.

White Sox No. 10 prospect Micker Adolfo went deep in both games of Class A Advanced Winston Salem's doubleheader. The 21-year-old, who now has five homers this season, went 1-for-2 with a solo homer in the first game, then exploded for five RBIs - via an RBI double, sacrifice fly and three-run homer - in the second game.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Granderson launches walk-off homer vs. Kimbrel

MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' first series of the year against the Red Sox is going to be used as a measuring stick to see how they match up with arguably the top team in the American League East. Curtis Granderson and J.A. Happ made sure they passed the first test with flying colors.

Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run in top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th as the Blue Jays overcame Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' first series of the year against the Red Sox is going to be used as a measuring stick to see how they match up with arguably the top team in the American League East. Curtis Granderson and J.A. Happ made sure they passed the first test with flying colors.

Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run in top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th as the Blue Jays overcame Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.

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Happ came away with a no-decision, but he played a big role in the win by limiting Boston's offense to one run over seven strong innings.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson gets doused twice after walk-off

"I'm trying to just do anything I can to help the team win and put ourselves in an opportunity to win," said Granderson, who has eight RBIs over his last five games. "Starting in right, starting in center, starting in left, trying to get on base, I'm just trying to do the little things, because this team has such a great ability to come up in big situations."

It was the fourth walk-off home run of Granderson's career, and it came on a 2-0 fastball from Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Toronto picked up its second walk-off victory of the year and improved to 2-0 in extra-innings games this season. Granderson went 3-for-5 with his third home run of the season.

Tuesday's game marked the first of 18 games between the two clubs. The Red Sox, along with the Yankees, have long been considered the favorites in the division, but the Blue Jays have been turning a few heads with their early season play. The victory in the series opener ensured that Toronto will finish March/April with at least a .500 record, something that hasn't happened since 2012.

Video: BOS@TOR: Gibbons on Happ's outing, win in extras

One win might not seem like much, but it's a symbolic victory for a Blue Jays team that entered this game having lost eight consecutive games to Boston at Rogers Centre. Last season, Toronto was outscored 107-75 by the Red Sox, and its -32 run differential vs. the Sox was the organization's lowest since posting a -51 against the Rays in 2012. Something has to change if the Blue Jays are going to be taken seriously in the division, and Tuesday was a good start.

Video: Must C Clutch: Granderson belts a walk-off home run

Happ never had multiple baserunners at any point during his fifth start of the year. He frequently used his four-seam fastball up in the zone to generate swings-and-misses from the Red Sox as he picked up double-digit strikeouts for the first time since Aug. 2, 2017, vs. the White Sox. The 35-year-old averaged 92.7 mph with the four seamer while mixing in his slider and curveball combo 20 times in his strongest outing of the year.

"We remember that they've played well here, so it's nice to set the tone and get that first one here," Happ said. "I think it's something that's going to be a battle all season long. I think these are two really good ballclubs and that we'll see a lot of games pretty tight like this one."

Video: BOS@TOR: Happ strikes out 10 over seven innings

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Can't close it out: Osuna got himself into all sorts of trouble in the top of the ninth inning. Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers singled to put runners on first and second with one out while Eduardo Nunez followed with an RBI single. Later in the frame, Boston loaded the bases as Brock Holt delivered the game-tying run with an RBI single to left field. It could have been a lot worse, but Granderson saved the day by throwing out Nunez at the plate on Holt's RBI single, which eventually forced extra innings. Osuna picked up his first blown save of the year in seven attempts and also surrendered his first earned runs of the season.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson makes a run-saving throw in 9th

"That's the way baseball is sometimes," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I think that was Osuna's and Kimbrel's first runs they've given up all year. That's why you call it the big leagues … The guys battled. That was a big game for us. If you don't win that one, it's a kick in the teeth."

The fortunate bounce: The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when they had runners on the corners and Boston third baseman Devers was unable to field a grounder and make a throw home in time to get a sliding Steve Pearce. Later in the frame, Devers was put under the spotlight once again with a pair of runners on base. This time, Granderson hit a hard grounder that deflected off Devers' glove to allow two more runs to score.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson plates two with a single to left

SOUND SMART
Over the previous five years, Toronto had the worst March/April record in the Major Leagues, going 52-75 (.409). A year ago, the Blue Jays did not pick up their 14th victory until Game No. 35 on May 11. This season, they reached 14 wins in Game No. 24 on April 24.

HE SAID IT
"I think the city is hurting right now and we had some first responders here today. I hope they enjoyed the game, if they stayed until the end, which I think they did. I think it was a meaningful win for us on several levels." -- Happ, when asked about the importance of winning the series opener as he referenced Monday's tragic events in Toronto that saw multiple casualties following an attack involving a white van

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Blue Jays were in a perfect position add another insurance run when Teoscar Hernandez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on second, Hernandez hit a sharp liner to right field that appeared destined for extra bases, but Mookie Betts had other ideas. According to Statcast™, Betts covered 53 feet in 3.5 seconds to make a four-star grab that came with a catch probability of 31 percent. Yangervis Solarte followed by lining out to second base and the Blue Jays came up empty in the fifth.

Video: BOS@TOR: Statcast™ measures Betts' four-star grab

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will continue their three-game series against the Red Sox when Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound on Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez has experienced a dip in velocity so far this season. In 2017, he averaged 95.0 mph on his two-seam fastball, but in a recent outing against the Yankees, that number dropped to 92.8. The velocity has not impacted his performance with three quality starts in four outings. Boston will counter with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45 ERA).

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson, J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna

Inbox: Will Gurriel stay on the roster for '18?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans
MLB.com

What are the Blue Jays going to do when Josh Donaldson returns? Will they find a way to keep Lourdes Gurriel Jr.?
-- Phil K., Thunder Bay, Ontario

Gurriel had an impressive debut, but he's still the likeliest candidate to be sent down. Donaldson's return would slide Yangervis Solarte back into a super utility role, but there will be no shortage of playing time at second base, shortstop and third. Solarte's defense at shortstop is still a concern, and the club has used him there just once this season, but he's an option whenever fly-ball pitcher Marco Estrada is on the mound.

What are the Blue Jays going to do when Josh Donaldson returns? Will they find a way to keep Lourdes Gurriel Jr.?
-- Phil K., Thunder Bay, Ontario

Gurriel had an impressive debut, but he's still the likeliest candidate to be sent down. Donaldson's return would slide Yangervis Solarte back into a super utility role, but there will be no shortage of playing time at second base, shortstop and third. Solarte's defense at shortstop is still a concern, and the club has used him there just once this season, but he's an option whenever fly-ball pitcher Marco Estrada is on the mound.

Even if Donaldson requires at least semi-regular starts at DH, the Blue Jays should be able to make this configuration work. It limits the versatility of the roster, but Russell Martin's ability to play third -- or even second base in an emergency situation -- helps protect against in-game injuries. Gurriel is a nice fit, but he should be playing every day, and if that's not going to happen in the Majors, he should be sent down when Donaldson is back.

:: Submit a question to the Blue Jays Inbox ::

Is it time to put Devon Travis to the Minors and give Gurriel second base?
-- Justin C., Toronto

This seems to be a popular question this week -- and it's understandable because Travis is batting .140 with a .218 on-base percentage -- but I still don't think it's time for type of move. Travis' struggles would be more concerning if he had not been down this road before. Last year, Travis hit .130 in April and then enjoyed the best month of his career with a 1.019 OPS and 20 extra-base hits. It's reasonable to expect another turnaround because the bat is simply too good to be mired in that type of slump for much longer. If he's still not hitting in a couple of weeks then it's probably time to have that conversation, but the upside is far too high to rush things.

John Gibbons always leaves his starters in for too long. Look at Saturday's game against the Yankees. Marcus Stroman was obviously tired, Gibbons left him in too long and a winnable game turned into a blowout. What is he thinking
-- Derek T., Hamilton, Ontario

Gibbons has no choice but to force the issue a little bit with his rotation. The bullpen has been an early strength, but it lacks versatility, and until the Blue Jays add a long reliever, that's going to be a problem. The club has been attempting to extend the outings of John Axford and Danny Barnes, but this relief corps is filled with one-inning specialists. If a starter gets knocked out early there will be repercussions for days and that's why Gibbons' hands are tied. The rotation ranks sixth in the American League with 117 innings and 12th with a 5.23 ERA. Simply put, it needs to be better.

With the starters being forced to pitch extra innings because the bullpen lacks a long man would there be any additional thought toward moving Joe Biagini back to the 'pen at some point?
-- Corey B., Sparwood, British Columbia

Ideally yes, but that's easier said than done because the Blue Jays have the same problem they did at the end of Spring Training. The only relievers with options remaining are Ryan Tepera and Barnes and neither one deserves a demotion. Tepera is the primary setup man to Roberto Osuna and Barnes has allowed just one run over 11 2/3 innings. The only way to get a long reliever onto the roster is by parting ways with either Seung Hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, Axford or Aaron Loup.

Loup is the longest-tenured Blue Jay, but he doesn't have a defined role. He's the lone lefty, yet he rarely comes in to face a left-handed batter in high-leverage situations and has been mostly relegated to pitching when the score is out of hand. The Blue Jays probably don't want to lose him, but they may have no choice but to take a long-hard look at this situation. My pick for long relief would be Luis Santos, which would allow Biagini to continue starting in the Minors.

What are they going to do with Randal Grichuk if he continues to scuffle?
-- Rick B., Raleigh, N.C.

Teoscar Hernandez is playing so well right now that he needs to be in the lineup every day. He's a streaky hitter and there's a good chance his bat will eventually cool off, but Hernandez deserves the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise. In an ideal world, Grichuk would be sent to the Minors, but he's out of options so that can't happen. For now, he's destined to see a lot of time on the bench.

The Blue Jays currently have five outfielders, plus a full-time DH in Kendrys Morales. At some point, one of those players has to go because the configuration is not sustainable. Exploring the trade market for Steve Pearce is one option, eating the contract of Morales is another and a last resort might be cutting ties with Grichuk altogether. Expect the club to delay this decision as long as possible, which means Grichuk on the bench with a five-man outfield should be expected for awhile.

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Joe Biagini, Josh Donaldson, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Yangervis Solarte, Devon Travis

Bats quiet in Blue Jays' first series loss

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- It was bound to happen at some point, but the Blue Jays have finally lost their first series of the year.

Toronto's strong start to the season hit a speed bump in the Bronx as the Blue Jays dropped three of four to see their record fall to 13-8. The latest setback occurred Sunday afternoon when lefty Jaime Garcia was charged with four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the Yankees.

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NEW YORK -- It was bound to happen at some point, but the Blue Jays have finally lost their first series of the year.

Toronto's strong start to the season hit a speed bump in the Bronx as the Blue Jays dropped three of four to see their record fall to 13-8. The latest setback occurred Sunday afternoon when lefty Jaime Garcia was charged with four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the Yankees.

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The loss meant the Blue Jays were unable to remain undefeated through their first seven series, which last happened in 1992. Toronto won its first World Series that year and went 5-0-2 in the first seven series, while the current squad dropped to 5-1-1. New York's victory also ensured the Blue Jays would not start the year with at least 14 wins in 21 games for the first time since 2009.

Video: TOR@NYY: Gibbons on Garcia's start, lack of offense

"We did have some opportunities, not so much today, but the first three games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They get some guys who can strike quick. But you know, hey, we hung in there today. [Luis] Severino, it was Severino's day today. You put up a lead for him, he's probably going to shut it down and go late into the game."

One of the main reasons behind the defeats has been Toronto's lack of offense. The lineup has been the Blue Jays' biggest strength during the early stages of 2018, but it combined to score just two runs on seven hits during the final two games in New York. The Blue Jays are a perfect 12-0 when scoring four or more runs this season, but they are 1-8 when scoring three or fewer. Toronto finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the series finale, though Severino and his seven strong innings with six strikeouts deserves the majority of the credit for that.

Video: TOR@NYY: Garcia gets a double play, escapes trouble

Garcia got himself into a lot of trouble in the first and second innings before he settled in and found a groove. In the first, Garcia surrendered a solo homer to Didi Gregorius, and in the second, he yielded a two-run double to Austin Romine. That was all the damage Garcia would allow until he departed in the bottom of the sixth with one out and runners on the corners.

"I feel, personally, I didn't get the job done today," said Garcia, who remains winless in four career starts at Yankee Stadium. "I take a lot of pride in that. I felt good today, I knew this would be a tough challenge against a good lineup, good team. Just a couple of pitches, three pitches pretty much, cost me the game, just got to do a better job than that."

Video: TOR@NYY: Smoak rips a double to the wall

Teoscar Hernandez was one of the only bright spots on offense for the Blue Jays, as he finished 2-for-4 with a home run and a double. It was just the second time this month Toronto's offense has been limited to one run, and both games have come over the past two days. The Blue Jays' record following a loss also dropped to 5-2, which snapped a previous five-game winning streak under those circumstances.

Toronto has now lost five of its past six road series at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays are 5-6 against the American League East this season, compared to 8-2 against the rest of the league. Last year, Toronto went 33-43 within the division, which was the worst among the five AL East teams.

"You know, we've been [playing] really well, really well lately," Garcia said. "The guys are swinging really amazing, the bullpen has been unbelievable and we as starting pitchers, we feel like we're going to take off. We believe in ourselves, we just got stay focused on the process, continue to compete, continue to give us a chance to win and in the long term, things will go that way."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hernandez does it again: Hernandez continued to stake his claim to a starting job in the outfield with a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning. According to Statcast™, Hernandez's third home run of the season was projected to travel 408 feet and it left his bat at 106 mph. This marked just the third hit of the day surrendered by Severino, and while Justin Smoak followed with a walk, he was quickly erased on a double-play grounder off the bat of Yangervis Solarte.

Video: TOR@NYY: Hernandez belts a towering drive to left

"He's a really good pitcher, he's got pretty good pitches and we tried to go out there and get one pitch," Hernandez said of Severino. "Those guys don't miss a lot, you just get one or two chances to put good contact on it. We're going to keep battling, keep playing the way we've been playing, keep playing hard and next series, we'll get better results."

The add-on run: The Blue Jays had some renewed hope following Hernandez's home run in the sixth, but that proved to be short-lived. In the bottom half of the inning, Miguel Andujar hit an RBI double over the head of Kevin Pillar in center field. The double came off reliever Seung Hwan Oh, but it was charged to Garcia, who departed with runners on the corners and one out.

Video: TOR@NYY: Andujar doubles to center, plates Sanchez

"My goal is to make pitches until they take me off the mound and keep us in the ball game," Garcia said. "Today I knew it was going to be against a good team, but like I said, I gotta do a better job than that next time."

SOUND SMART
The Blue Jays are 5-11 in their past 16 games at Yankee Stadium after going 11-3 in the previous 14.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Yankees and the crowd thought Tyler Austin had an infield hit in the eighth inning Sunday, but first-base umpire Ted Barrett called him out. The Yankees asked for a replay review, believing shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s throw had pulled first baseman Smoak off the bag. After review, the call was allowed to stand, causing Yankees manager Aaron Boone to raise his arms in the air and bringing loud boos from Yankees fans who believed the replay they saw showed Smoak's foot off the bag.

Video: TOR@NYY: Gurriel Jr. nabs Austin despite challenge

"He showed really good range, under control," Gibbons said of Gurriel. "The fans didn't like it. They didn't like the outcome, but I think they got it right."

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will enjoy a day off on Monday before opening a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound in the series opener, facing Rick Porcello, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. Happ is fanning more batters than ever. He has eight strikeouts in each of his past three starts and is averaging 12.7 K's per nine innings. He has never averaged double-digit strikeouts over the course of a full season.

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Jaime Garcia, Teoscar Hernandez

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s teammates pretended to throw the ball into the stands after his first MLB hit

Blue Jays fans got a taste of the future during Friday's 8-5 victory over the Yankees. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. came up to the bigs and collected two hits and drove in three runs -- which was exactly the margin of victory, so Gurriel has already made an impact. 

But Gurriel's teammates decided to have a little fun with the new rookie. Gurriel's first career hit came in the fourth inning, when he laced a two-run single. As the Blue Jays Instagram pointed out, that's a baseball to save: 

Tuesday's top prospect performers

A's No. 2 impresses in Double-A debut
MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Jesus Luzardo allowed two runs on two hits in the first inning of his Double-A debut but was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, completing five strong innings of three-hit ball as Midland edged Corpus Christi, 3-2.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

Jesus Luzardo allowed two runs on two hits in the first inning of his Double-A debut but was nearly untouchable the rest of the way, completing five strong innings of three-hit ball as Midland edged Corpus Christi, 3-2.

Luzardo, Oakland's No. 2 prospect (No. 60 overall), struck out the side in the second inning before finishing with five strikeouts and one walk. He also induced a handful of ground-ball outs in the performance, throwing 45 of his 78 pitches for strikes.

Luzardo's promotion to the Texas League in the first month of the season was the latest in what has been a series of quick promotions for the 20-year-old left-hander.

Luzardo fans fifth batter of day

A third-round pick by the Nationals in 2016 despite having undergone Tommy John surgery a few months prior, Luzardo received a well-above-slot bonus to forgo his Miami commitment. He made his highly anticipated pro debut nearly a year later and dazzled in a trio of Rookie-level Gulf Coast League starts before joining the A's at the July Trade Deadline in the deal that netted Washington Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Luzardo continued to impress following the trade, too, pitching to a 1.82 ERA with 33 strikeouts and a .194 BAA in 29 2/3 innings (nine starts) between the Rookie-level Arizona and the Class A Short Season New York-Penn Leagues.

Luzardo's performance convinced the A's that the precocious sophomore was ready for a greater challenge, as he made just three starts in the hitter-friendly Class A Advanced California League -- posting a 1.23 ERA, a .120 opponents' average and a 25-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 2/3 innings -- before a bump up to Double-A.

With his latest debut behind him, Luzardo now boasts a 1.71 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP across his first 63 innings as a professional. He's racked up 78 strikeouts against 11 walks in that span, while limiting opposing hitters to a .193 average and zero home runs.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

No. 8 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres' No. 1) hit solo home runs in the sixth and ninth innings to account for both runs in Double-A San Antonio's 5-2 loss against Frisco. It marked the second career multi-homer game for the 19-year-old shortstop, who now has gone deep three times in 18 games for the Missions. He's batting an even .200 on the season.

Tatis Jr. slams solo homer

No. 13 overall prospect Bo Bichette (Blue Jays' No. 2) went home-to-third twice for Double-A New Hampshire in his first career two-triple game. He also scored a pair of runs in the contest before finishing 2-for-5. The 20-year-old shortstop is batting .296/.375/.428 on the season, with hits in 13 of 16 games for the Fisher Cats. Jonathan Davis (No. 28) led off the game with a home run, his first of the season, and drove in three in the 9-4 victory over Binghamton.

Bichette smacks second triple

Angels No. 9 prospect Matt Thaiss tallied three extra-base hits but ultimately fell a home run short of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a triple in Double-A Mobile's win over Mississippi. Thaiss matched his career high with the four hits and improved his batting average by 40 points, from .250 to .290, in the process. The 2016 first-rounder has 12 runs, 14 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in 17 games this season.

Thaiss hits game's second double

Tigers No. 10 prospect Christin Stewart blasted his third home run in his first multi-hit game of the year to help lead Triple-A Toledo past Pawtucket. He also doubled and hit a pair of singles to finish 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs. The 24-year-old outfielder is slashing .250/.370/.450 through 17 games after hitting .256/.335/.501 with 28 homers last season over 136 Double-A contests.

Stewart slugs home run

No. 79 overall prospect Stephen Gonsalves (Twins' No. 3) tossed five innings of one-run ball en route to his third win in four starts for Double-A Chattanooga. The 23-year-old recorded a season-high nine of his 15 outs via the strikeout while scattering four hits with two walks and throwing 60 of his 91 pitches for strikes. Gonsalves has pitched to a 1.77 ERA, with 25 strikeouts and 10 walks, while limiting batters to seven hits in 20 1/3 innings.

No. 59 overall prospect Alex Faedo's fourth career start was his longest. The Tigers' No. 3 prospect completed 6 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with six strikeouts for Class A Advanced Lakeland in a no-decision against Dunedin. Faedo, the No. 18 overall pick in last year's Draft, has worked at least five innings in all four starts, posting a 2.74 ERA with 21 strikeouts and one walk over 23 innings in that span.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Faedo, RHP, Tigers

Blue Jays No. 19 prospect Kevin Smith went 2-for-5 with a home run, a double and five RBIs, leading Class A Lansing past Dayton, 7-0. The homer, a three-run shot in the third inning, was Smith's second of the season and snapped a seven-game extra-base hit drought. The 2017 fourth-rounder is batting .286 overall with 17 RBIs, 10 runs and five steals through 15 games.

Braves No. 16 prospect Dustin Peterson's first home run of the season was a grand slam that proved the difference in Triple-A Gwinnett's 5-2 win against Rochester. He finished the contest with three hits and four RBIs, both season highs for the 23-year-old outfielder.

Cubs No. 28 prospect Cory Abbott was sharp for Class A South Bend in Game 1 of a doubleheader, tossing seven strong innings during which he allowed two hits -- including a solo home run -- and struck out six. The 22-year-old righty, Chicago's second-round pick in 2017, has given up three hits in his past two starts and owns a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings (three starts) on the season.

Marlins No. 11 prospect Brian Miller enjoyed a six-hit day as Class A Advanced Jupiter split a doubleheader with Palm Beach. The 22-year-old center fielder collected four hits in the opener for the second time in four games, going 4-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases, and then added two more knocks, as well as two RBIs, in the nightcap. Overall, Miller improved his average from .313 to .360 with the 6-for-8 performance.

Angels No. 29 prospect Joe Gatto, a 22-year-old right-hander, allowed one hit over six innings in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Advanced Inland Empire. Throwing 47 of his 78 pitches for strikes, Gatto posted five strikeouts against two walks and induced 10 ground-ball outs. He's now kept his opponent out of the run column in three of four starts in the California League. Overall, Gatto has pitched to a 2.37 ERA with 25 strikeouts and eight walks in 19 innings.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

These are the Top 30 international prospects

MLB.com

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Top 30 International Prospects list

"I found the guy, Al! I found the guy our owner was looking for. He's 15. Come to Venezuela," Eljaua shrieked through the phone.

Avila, who was in Miami at the time, was not pleased to hear the news. The Marlins had never spent more than $30,000 on an international teen.

Top International Prospects

"Are you crazy, Louis? [Owner] John Henry gives us money and you are going to spend it all on your first trip and the first kid you see? Are you trying to get us all fired? What is wrong with you?"

"I know, I know," Eljaua answered. "Just come see the kid. He's good. You won't be sorry."

That kid was Miguel Cabrera. And less than a year later, the teenager signed with the Marlins for $1.8 million to launch his future Hall of Fame career and forever set the standard for international teenage prospects.

The hunt for the next Cabrera continues, and each year an increasing number of prospects sign when the international signing period begins on July 2; hundreds more will join Major League organizations later this summer.

Led by catcher Diego Cartaya -- who like Cabrera is from Maracay, Venezuela -- the players on MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 30 International Prospects list represent the greatest young talent from across the globe eligible to sign on July 2.

The ultimate goal is nabbing a baseball unicorn like Cabrera. But signing a horse like Cartaya, a hard-hitting catcher with advanced skills, or other emerging international prospects also offer teams options.

Video: Top International Prospects: Diego Cartaya, C

Remember, the Cubs traded top teen Gleyber Torres of Venezuela to the Yankees as part of a deal for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, and the rest is World Series history. Last year, they traded the Dominican Republic's Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox in a deal for Jose Quintana. Both are the top prospects in their organizations. Back in '16, the Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada in a package to the White Sox for pitcher Chris Sale. The A's acquired Franklin Barreto from the Blue Jays in a deal for third baseman Josh Donaldson in '14.

"If you are not investing time and money and effort to sign international players, you are missing out on making your organization one of the best in the game," Eljaua said. "Why would you ignore a market and just focus on one or two ways to acquire talent when these guys are going to play in your system, hopefully in the big leagues, or be a part of a package that helps you fill a missing piece? And it's not all about the money and paying the most money. It's about scouting and working and finding out about makeup and helping your entire system."

Who is signing whom
More than 950 prospects have signed during the international signing period that started July 2, 2017, and that number could increase during the 2018-19 period, because there are thousands who have registered to become eligible.

In addition to prospects from traditional baseball hot spots like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and the Bahamas, there are also prospects from places like Europe, the Caribbean islands and Asia who have also registered.

Video: Top International Prospects: Marco Luciano, OF

As far as the list is concerned, the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Cartaya. Marco Luciano, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic, a close second behind Cartaya in the rankings, is linked to the Giants. Outfielder Misael Urbina of Venezuela, who is ranked No. 3, is an advanced hitter expected to have an above-average hit tool and plus speed. He is linked to the Twins. Rounding out the top five is Venezuelan right-handed pitcher Richard Gallardo, linked to the Cubs, and Orelvis Martinez, a power-hitting shortstop from the D.R. sometimes compared to a young Adrian Beltre. The Blue Jays are the favorite to sign Martinez.

Video: Richard Gallardo named top int'l pitching prospect

Breakdown
This year's Top 30 International Prospects list includes 10 players from Venezuela, 16 from the Dominican Republic, three from Cuba and one from Colombia. The positions break down like this: 11 outfielders, eight infielders, seven pitchers and four catchers.

The best athletes at premium positions are the most appealing to international scouts. Three of the top 13 are catchers and three of the top 10 are pitchers. Shortstops and center fielders are also highly coveted in this year's class.

International signing rules, spending
There are specific guidelines for signing prospects like Cartaya: An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of the next year if he is 17 or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.

Video: Cartaya tops MLB's international prospects list

The rules for signing international prospects are these: Clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,504,500. All other clubs receive $4,983,500.

International amateur free agency & bonus pool money explained

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

In terms of spending, the Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Twins and Yankees are expected to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- teams that will no longer be in the penalty for exceeding their past international bonus pool spending -- are also expected to be very active.

The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox are in the maximum penalty, so they cannot sign players for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.

"We are all looking for the next Miguel Cabrera, but I think it's unfair to compare anybody to him because he was just on another level," Eljaua said. "But the reality is, my old team already paid me for that sign. I'm getting paid to find another one. That's what the job is."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Stroman struggles to contain slugging Yanks

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman was enjoying his best start of the season, an outing that was supposed to alter his course in what has been a disappointing start to the year. Then it all came crashing down in the sixth inning.

New York jumped on Stroman in the seven-run frame, aided by some shoddy defense, and it resulted in the Blue Jays' 9-1 loss on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Toronto picked up its second defeat in three games, and it is in danger of losing its first series of the year when the four-game set wraps up on Sunday afternoon.

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NEW YORK -- Marcus Stroman was enjoying his best start of the season, an outing that was supposed to alter his course in what has been a disappointing start to the year. Then it all came crashing down in the sixth inning.

New York jumped on Stroman in the seven-run frame, aided by some shoddy defense, and it resulted in the Blue Jays' 9-1 loss on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Toronto picked up its second defeat in three games, and it is in danger of losing its first series of the year when the four-game set wraps up on Sunday afternoon.

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Stroman allowed eight runs, six earned, on five hits and four walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings. His ERA now sits at 8.55 with an 0-2 record through four starts. Stroman's biggest issue has been his lack of command, with 14 walks over 20 innings, compared to 2.8 walks per nine innings last season, which at the time was a career high.

Video: TOR@NYY: Stroman fans Torreyes to retire the side

"There have been spurts where I kind of lose command," Stroman admitted after the game. "Where I have too much action on my sinker and I'm throwing it down, down, down, where I kind of can't pinpoint it. Just release point, working on a few things. I'm not worried about it. I can take the positives from this, and when I was dominant, I was rolling. So it's just a matter of doing that inning, after inning, after inning."

Despite the ugly pitching line, Stroman is correct in suggesting there was a time earlier in the day when he was cruising through the Yankees' lineup. His only real issue through the first five innings came on a poorly located sinker to Aaron Judge, who picked up his sixth home run of the year with a no-doubter to left.

Thanks in large part to Stroman, the Blue Jays entered the bottom of the sixth trailing by just one run, but that's when the wheels fell off. Stroman allowed the first four batters to reach base, on two hits and a pair of walks, before catcher Luke Maile dropped an easy catch at home for what should have been a forceout. Miguel Andujar followed a couple of batters later with a three-run double to left-center field, which chased Stroman from the game.

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge safe at home on Maile's missed catch

Toronto's offense didn't do Stroman any favors when the score was still manageable. The Blue Jays missed a slew of scoring opportunities off left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery, and they finished the day 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. Montgomery allowed one run on four hits over six innings while striking out five.

The lack of run support has been an issue for Stroman over the first three weeks of the season. The Blue Jays have scored just six runs when he has been on the mound, but considering Toronto has opened the year ranked second in the American League in runs, the more pressing issue is Stroman's control -- or lack thereof.

"Just need to figure it out," said Stroman, who has allowed at least four runs in each of his four starts. "I have it in spurts, then I just completely lose it at times. It's frustrating, but I'll do everything in my power. I'll kill myself [working hard] before I continue to go out there like this. I know that with my work ethic, I'm going to get back to where I need to be, hopefully soon."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Missed opportunity: The Blue Jays had a perfect chance to open the scoring in the top of the third when they loaded the bases with one out. Teoscar Hernandez quickly fell behind 0-2, but he eventually worked the count full before striking out on a low curveball. Yangervis Solarte then stepped to the plate with a chance to drive in at least a couple of runs, but he hit a weak popup to short as the inning came to a close.

Video: TOR@NYY: Montgomery ends bases-loaded threat in 3rd

"We had some guys on base, we just couldn't cash in at all," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Really, we've been getting guys on base all series."

Missed location: Stroman's first mistake came in the bottom of the third following a two-out walk to Brett Gardner. Stroman tossed three consecutive balls to Judge before he attempted a get-me-over sinker. Maile was looking for the fastball on the outside corner, but instead, Stroman threw it right down the middle and Judge did not miss it. The slugger hit the ball a projected 443 feet for his sixth home run of the season as New York picked up a lead it would not relinquish.

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge crushes two-run home run on 3-0 pitch

"I felt like I was rolling," Stroman said. "I made one bad pitch, it was a 3-0 pitch to Judge that kind of leaked back over the plate, he hammered. Other than that, through those first five, felt great and to just completely lose command, it's very frustrating. But like I said, I'm going to figure this out and be back to being dominant and going deep into games."

SOUND SMART
Toronto has lost all five starts that Stroman has made at Yankee Stadium since the start of 2016. He's 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA (11 earned runs across 17 innings) in the Bronx during that span.

The Blue Jays are 1-7 when scoring three runs or fewer this season and a perfect 12-0 when scoring at least four. The one run on Saturday ties the lowest output of the season for Toronto.

Video: TOR@NYY: Pearce plates Grichuk with single to left

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will wrap up their four-game series against the Yankees when lefty Jaime Garcia takes the mound in Sunday's finale, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET against the Yanks' Luis Severino. Garcia will get the opportunity to face his former team, as he made eight starts for New York last season and has a 2.20 ERA in three career appearances at Yankee Stadium. He has completed six innings just once for Toronto so far this season.

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman

Travis day to day with sore left foot

Second baseman out of lineup vs. Yankees; Smoak receives first day off
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Second baseman Devon Travis was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup again on Saturday afternoon because of a sore left foot.

Travis remains day to day while prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup for the second consecutive day. Travis fouled a ball off his foot during Thursday night's loss to the Yankees, and while he remained in the game, he has since been sidelined.

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NEW YORK -- Second baseman Devon Travis was held out of the Blue Jays' lineup again on Saturday afternoon because of a sore left foot.

Travis remains day to day while prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup for the second consecutive day. Travis fouled a ball off his foot during Thursday night's loss to the Yankees, and while he remained in the game, he has since been sidelined.

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"He's feeling better," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who would not comment on whether Travis was available off the bench.

Video: TOR@NYY: Toronto broadcast on Gurriel Jr.'s routine

Travis' absence opened the door for the Blue Jays to reward Gurriel for his impressive debut. Gurriel became the fourth player in franchise history to record at least three RBIs in his debut, joining Pat Borders (1988), Eric Hinske (2002) and J.P. Arencibia ('10).

Gurriel went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI singles during Friday night's 8-5 victory. He was promoted from Double-A New Hampshire earlier that day, and he is expected to see time at second whenever Travis is out of the lineup. He also may be used occasionally at shortstop or third base.

"Somebody gets a couple of knocks, drives in some runs, it's tough not to play them," Gibbons said.

Day off for Smoak

Blue Jays slugger Justin Smoak received his first day off on Saturday afternoon. Smoak had appeared in all 19 of Toronto's games this season prior to the matinee affair against the Yankees. The 31-year-old is batting .233/.352/.384 with two homers and 12 RBIs.

"Isn't everyone allowed to have a day off?" Gibbons jokingly asked during a morning scrum with reporters.

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Justin Smoak, Devon Travis