The Blue Jays end their losing streak with a laugh from the Rays

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At his best, Vlad Guerrero Jr. has the power and lightning, while Bo Bichette has the consistency that has made him the American League’s most prolific hitter over the past three seasons.

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But when it comes to the bat that propels the Blue Jays offense through the good (and currently out of the bad), it’s arguable that he starts at the top of manager John Schneider’s batting order.

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A healthy George Springer is as productive and dangerous as it gets, for much of his career he was baseball’s top leadoff hitter.

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And when his team needed him most, Springer jumped in with abandon Tuesday night in St. Pete, Fla. A four-hit evening included two singles (the first resulted in right fielder scoring the first run of the game). ), a home run (his seventh, a solo shot in the third), and a triple (as part of a six-run break-it-open fifth inning).

By the time the Springer-initiated barrage ended, the Jays had clinched a silly 20-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, a night of offensive joy they sorely needed.

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It turned out to be a laugh, in part because the Jays’ final 10 runs came from positional players who were trampled out by Rays manager Kevin Cash as the official wave of the white flag.

But when a glorified batting practice session helps improve stats and boost confidence, the Jays were more than willing to comply.

The rowdy team certainly needed something big to bounce back from the slump, and they scored early and often with 20 runs and 27 hits, both season highs.

Seven of the last eight losses (and five in a row) was demoralizing enough, but it also caused potentially untold damage to the standings as the Jays slipped to the bottom of the AL East.

While they haven’t shown it for the past eight days, there’s never really been any belief that the Jays were as bad as their recent play suggested.

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But before the second of four games against the Rays, there was definitely an urgency to stop the bleeding. Topping that list was avoiding a six-game losing streak almost to the day for the first time in two years.

The recent losing streak had left the Jays 9.5 games behind the Rays, and no matter how much highway is left in the season, that’s a lot of tarmac to cover.

Of course, no team can recapture it in one night, but the challenge for the 26-23 Jays now is to generate some momentum from a big win as the 17 games in 17 days continue with two more on the trop.

It won’t be easy on Wednesday when the Jays take on Rays ace Shane McClanahan, who has a 7-0 record and a 2.05 ERA. At least the Jays can breathe a sigh of relief after coming off their worst stretch of the season and have a wild night on the plate.

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Springer started the game with the first shot, and 26 hits later, the Jays had the makings of a slump-buster.


The Jays recorded those 27 goals as nice follow-up after scoring 11 in a 6-4 loss the night before. If batting is contagious (as baseball players like to claim), it’s a start, even with the ridiculous quality runs that came late… Even if Springer didn’t manage to score for the cycle – he was busted in the seventh game – it is he’s definitely on fire. Before Tuesday’s contest, he had hit multiple bases in each of his last four games (7-on-16 with four walks). In his last six contests he was 14-on-44 with two home runs and a double… Danny Jansen, also running at full speed, had two doubles and a home run (in the ninth game) on Tuesday and Whit Merrifield hit his four -Three more to come tonight… Sure, it was a great shot from outfielder Luke Raley, but Guerrero secured a grand slam in the ninth game.

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The Jays’ performance, marred by poor results with runners in goal position, was borderline alarming.

Before Tuesday’s Trop tournament, the Jays had a plus-5 running difference, ranking 10th best in the American League. In the end, the value had risen to plus-24.

While there was always a risk that fewer runs would be scored with the removal of Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. from the lineup, few would have anticipated it.

In contrast, the Rays went into the game with an MLB high of plus 126, due in part to 94 home runs, another MLB high.

So how good it must have felt for the Jays to snag a sixth-place finish in the fifth inning to send Tuesday’s game into blowout mode. The first 10 runs were real, a welcome breakout for an offensive that had been struggling.


Jays starter Jose Berrios had built up a nice lead early on and put on a strong performance, conceding five hits and just one run in seven innings while notching five strikeouts. The right-hander has gone 4-2 in his last six starts and brought his ERA down to 4.22… The Jays made a series of roster changes before the game, sending the infielder back to Triple A Buffalo and bringing in Ernie Clement in his place. Reliever Adam Cimber was reinstated from the injured list while right-back Mitch White was sent to the 60-day IL. … Clement made his Jays debut as a defensive back-up in the eighth.


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