On a day the Jays spent patching holes in a leaky bullpen, Kevin Gausman and the Toronto bats made sure the pen got some much-needed rest.
Gausman gave the Jays exactly what they needed, going seven scoreless innings while the bats returned home to the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre and slipped right back into their comfort zone in a 7-2 win over the visiting Red Sox.
The Sox had won seven in a row and as the Jays start a key homestand that will see them take on Boston three times and the Tampa Bay Rays five times, including a Saturday double-header.
To suggest Monday’s win was a nice way to start would be underselling things.
“That was huge,” manager Charlie Montoya said of the start he got from Gausman. “Seven innings — that is what we needed and he gave us that. Our bullpen has thrown a lot and even more lately so we needed some kind of start like that. That was the Gausman that we saw at the beginning (of the season). He’s been good but today he was impressive, back to that guy we saw the first couple of months.”
The Jays came into this one hitting a MLB-best .283 as a team for the month of June and proceeded to further pad those numbers against Red Sox starter Connor Seabold, who was making just his second start in the majors.
Seabold managed to miss a lot of Jays bats in the 4.2 innings he was on the mound, striking out seven. But around them, he ran into mostly the wrong ones as George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman all took him deep.
Springer’s 14th of the year was a solo shot in the third while Guerrero Jr. followed two batters later with a two-run shot, his 18th of the year, to score Bo Bichette.
Chapman would add a two-run shot, his 11th home run of the year, in the Jays’ three-run fifth, chasing Seabold from the game.
For Gausman, it was a second consecutive solid start after he went through a little rough patch that began with an abbreviated outing against the Twins and pretty much ended two starts later with another rough one against his former teammates in Baltimore.
Gausman struck out a season-high-matching 10 batters and didn’t allow a Red Sox baserunner past second base.
Of the four hits he allowed, the lone extra-base hit bounded off the second base bag and ricocheted into left field for as cheap a double as Rafael Devers will ever have.
This was the third time the Red Sox have seen Gausman already this year. In those three games Gausman has allowed exactly one early run over 21 innings.
The win broke a personal string of three straight losing decisions dating back to May 31 against Chicago.
Gausman has only had those two tough outings all year, but both have come in the past five starts and, at a time when the Jays’ pitching staff isn’t exactly cruising, those hiccups have been a little more pronounced than they normally would be.
“It’s not like anybody is ever doubting that guy,” Chapman said afterwards of Gausman. “I think he started out super hot and then maybe had a few outings that didn’t go his way, but that’s what great pitchers do. They are able to make adjustments and he looked sharp as ever tonight.”
The Jays bullpen, which was limited to just the final six outs Monday night, has pitched to a 4.86 ERA in the month of June — more than a full run higher than April or May. Worse, they have converted just one of five save opportunities.
David Phelps and the recently promoted Shaun Anderson combined to register the final six outs of the game.
Phelps pitched a clean eighth while Anderson pitched around some trouble but managed to finish the game giving up those two Red Sox runs.
The two teams go at it again Tuesday night with Ross Stripling, going after his fifth win, up against Sox righty Michael Wacha.
CASTING A WIDE NET
The Blue Jays’ need for pitching is reaching panic proportions and the organization is not leaving any stones unturned.
While it is not yet official, reports Monday night suggested only a physical stood in the way of the Jays bringing in 39-year-old right-handed reliever Sergio Romo.
Towards the end of his career now, Romo is not exactly lighting up the radar gun these days topping out at about 86 mph with a repertoire that includes a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball and changeup. He’s in his 15th year in the majors.
Still, he has 11 strikeouts in 15 innings so far this season and that swing-and-miss ability, even as limited as it is now, is something the Jays are looking to add to their bullpen even if it’s not with the traditional velocity.
Romo is only available because he was released by the Seattle Mariners a week ago. His final two appearances combined for the Mariners — both against the Angels — saw him give up five hits and four runs over an inning and 2/3 combined. Two of the hits were home runs.
His ERA rose to 8.16 and the Mariners had seen enough.
The Blue Jays would be the 10th MLB team Romo has pitched for in his career.
HELP FROM WITHIN
The Jays had a little internal movement as well to address their pitching woes yesterday calling up right-hander Anderson from Buffalo and optioning right-hander Jeremy Beasley back to the triple-A club.
In a move concurrent with those two, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu has been transferred to the 60-day injured list.
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