Springer and Gausman dominate the Royals as the Jays look for a series win

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Harry Potter Day may have come a little early for the Blue Jays, as they will have a chance to prevail on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals.

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A 5-1 victory on Saturday following Friday’s dramatic one-run victory put Toronto in position to win the series for the first time in over a month.

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George Springer stepped up the offense in this game with a home run and a two-run double against veteran Zach Greinke and later added a solo shot. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. turned in one of his best all-around performances of the season and American League leader Kevin Gausman was in full control against a Royals team that could reach 100 losses on Sunday. Gausman struck out 10 in eight innings and allowed just two hits, including a home run.

“Just gives you a chance every time,” manager John Schneider said. “He’s got my (Cy Young) vote, you know, because I see him every fifth day, but when you need a start like that, he goes out and goes eight… I think if you just get him together with his stuff.”Im In a vacuum, he’s as good as anyone in baseball.”

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A day after All-Star Bo Bichette returned to give the Jays their season-opening 5-4 win, Schneider opted to keep him out of the starting lineup. Schneider explained that they are taking it slow with Bichette, who missed nine games with a right quad strain shortly after returning from another injury. He is expected to start on Sunday.

Bichette wasn’t needed in this case, largely thanks to Springer. He opened the scoring with his first home run and struck again in the fifth with a two-out, two-run double after Kansas City tied the game on a 438-foot shot from Edward Olivares that cleared the beer sign on the second level left hit field.

Olivares was the only Royal who got a good look at Gausman and was inches away from a second home run later in the game when he fouled out.

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Gausman beat Maikel Garcia to end the eighth day. Jordan Hicks did it for Toronto. Gausman lowered his ERA to 3.28, good for fifth in the league, and improved to 11-8.

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Afterwards, Gausman said his thoughts were only on the hunt for the season and not on the awards he could be in the running for.

“To be honest, I would rather we win the last 20 games and be considered for the postseason,” Gausman said. “But you know, it’s cool. Of course, there are more starts to come (but yeah, I’m focused on winning games. And that’s really all I’m worried about… At this point in the season, I’m focused on going deep and getting that (bullpen -)Giving guys a break because they’ve worked so hard for us all year and stuff. You know, any day we have a couple guys off a day, they’re going to be that much sharper at pitching.”

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Springer had a career .500 hit against Greinke, with eight hits in 16 at-bats, but only one of the hits was for extra bases, a home run. But Springer overpowered the former control specialist and then took a pitcher deep for good measure.

Springer has had an inconsistent season but appears to be getting hot at the right time, batting over .300 with six home runs and nine doubles in his last 30 games. Two of his four games this season with at least three RBI came in the last week. It’s no surprise that the former World Series MVP is finding his rhythm as the games get bigger.

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“I think it’s that time of year,” Schneider said. “I think I’ve just been in situations like this before and on the biggest stage the game has to offer, and I take things a little slower. It was kind of like his entire career went back to Houston. He just has different equipment that not a lot of people have.”

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Springer was asked why he appreciated the arrival of fall and the raising of the stakes.

“What is there not to like? I mean, that’s what you play for,” Springer said.

“It’s just fun to play here, and I know that sounds bold, but … you want to be in a playoff race, to be in the hunt,” he said.

“We are obviously in the middle of it. You have to enjoy the moment. You have to slow down, just breathe and have fun.”


Third baseman Matt Chapman continues to pursue a return to the lineup. He made some cuts to the batting cage inside the Rogers Center and did some field work on the diamond again before the game. Chapman has been out since August 27 with finger problems… A day after reaching base safely all four times, Davis Schneider had a rare off-game situation. Cleaning up at bat, the rookie struck out in his first three plate appearances. Still, Schneider has seven multi-hit games in 23 appearances, including four multi-hit games with extra-base hits. He is only the third player since 1910 to safely reach base 46 times in his first 21 career games… Schneider on Guerrero’s two-hit hit (almost three, on another he was thwarted by a great defensive play), his good defensive performance and his excellent Slide to score a run: “I didn’t try to do too much and just had full control of the zone. When Vladdy hits good shots, he’s as good as anyone.” And the foil? “Vladdy is athletic, man. Once he gets going he can move around and the slide at home has been great. When the big man gets moving, he’s fun to watch.”


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