Bullpen remains a major concern for Blue Jays
Schultz gives up tying homer vs. Seattle, before Loup takes the loss
SEATTLE -- Toronto's bullpen has been an ongoing concern all season, and even after receiving a facelift on Saturday afternoon, it wasn't enough to change the club's fortunes during a weekend series vs. the Mariners.
The Blue Jays once again couldn't protect a lead late in the game as Bo Schultz surrendered a game tying two-run homer in the seventh, and lefty Aaron Loup surrendered a walk-off solo shot to Franklin Gutierrez in the 10th. That resulted in a 6-5 loss and forced Toronto to settle for a 3-3 road trip.
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who was activated from the 15-day DL on Saturday, tossed another scoreless inning in relief, but there's only so much he can do alongside closer Roberto Osuna. That pair is going to need additional help, and that's where the Blue Jays came up short on Sunday afternoon.
"I don't know exactly what it was, or where it was, but it wasn't good, I'll tell you that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the 0-2 pitch that Loup threw to Gutierrez. "Frustating, tough game."
When Toronto added Sanchez to the bullpen on Saturday the plan was to form a trio of hard throwing relievers that could be used late in games. Osuna would get the ninth, Sanchez would get the eighth and Schultz would get the seventh.
All of that sounded pretty good on paper, but Sunday afternoon the plan backfired. Schultz nearly surrendered a two-run homer when he entered with two outs in the sixth, but he was saved on a leaping grab at the wall by Ezequiel Carrera. In the seventh, Schultz wasn't as lucky, with Nelson Cruz hitting a no-doubt two-run blast to left for his 25th of the year.
The game remained tied until the 10th when Gibbons turned to Loup. The veteran lefty retired the first batter he faced before throwing a 95-mph fastball down the heart of the plate that Gutierrez sent over the wall for a walk-off shot. It was the sixth home run that Loup has surrendered to a righty this year, and his ERA now sits at 5.19.