Jays crushed by Orioles in series finale

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Kevin Gausman has had better starts in his first season with the Blue Jays. 

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In fact, that would apply to all of them after what went down on Thursday afternoon at the Rogers Centre against the Baltimore Orioles. 

In his shortest start of 2022 after he signed a five-year, US$110-million contract with the Jays last December, Gausman (5-6) lasted just 2 1/3 innings before manager Charlie Montoyo had witnessed more than enough. 

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By the time the ball was handed to reliever David Phelps, Gausman had been lit up in the third for five hits, including three doubles, and five runs. Another run was charged to Gausman when the second batter Phelps faced, Jorge Mateo, stroked an RBI single.

The Orioles had more than enough on the board, cruising to a 10-2 victory before a disappointed crowd of 36,832. 

That the Jays had to settle for a split in the four-game series against the Orioles, last in the American League East, was bad enough; worse, the New York Yankees, who had a nine-game lead on the Jays for first place in the AL East before games on Thursday, arrive in town for a three-game set starting on Friday. 

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If the Jays are looking for a measuring stick, the Yankees gladly will provide it.

Pitching for the first time the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2012, Gausman was hit hard and often by the Orioles in the third, beginning with Cedric Mullins, who led off with a single. 

An error by third baseman Santiago Espinal didn’t help, but Gausman wasn’t effective anyway. Three of the next five Orioles batters doubled. Six of the Orioles’ first seven batters scored, and by the time Phelps got Austin Hays to fly out to end the top of the inning, 11 Orioles has been to the plate. 

The five earned runs were the most allowed by Gausman, who recorded three strikeouts, in any of his 13 starts this season. The previous high was three, which happened on four occasions. 

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Other than a solo home by Teoscar Hernandez with two out in the fourth, the Jays’ offence was unable to provide anything of substance against Orioles starter Tyler Wells (4-4). Wells went six innings, scattering five hits and striking out three before giving way to Nick Vespi.

The Orioles scored two runs off Jeremy Beasley in the seventh, highlighted by an RBI triple from Rougned Odor, and added another in the eighth when Hays homered to left with one out off Matt Gage. 

Alejandro Kirk hit an RBI single in the eighth for the Jays’ second run.

An indication that, perhaps, it was not going to be Gausman’s day came in the first inning, when Mullins, leading off, singled to right field. Mullins eventually scored, setting the scene for what would come in the third.

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CHAPMAN OUT

After homering in consecutive games for the first time this season, third baseman Matt Chapman was a spectator because of soreness in his wrist.

It’s the same minor ailment that kept him out of three games in a row before he returned to the lineup on Tuesday.

“I went to the (batting) cage and he said he can’t go,” Montoyo said. “I don’t think it’s that bad. One thing about the wrist is, if you don’t rest it, it can linger. We’ll see what it is.”

Chapman’s home run on Wednesday was his ninth in 2022. All, oddly, have come at the Rogers Centre. 

Chapman is hitting .327 (17-for-52) in his past 14 games after hitting .187 in his first 44 games.

“Our lineup is a lot better with him in it, that’s a fact,” Montoyo said.

DIAMOND DUST

George Springer had a scheduled day off. Springer was 0-for-5 on Wednesday, ending on-base streak at 24 games, the longest active streak in the majors … The Jays’ walk-off win in the 10th inning on Wednesday was their 16th victory in one-run games, the most in the majors. Last year, Toronto won 15 one-run games in total … Ross Stripling, who starts for the Jays on Friday against the Yankees, is 0-4 in his career against New York (including three starts) with a 4.50 ERA. 

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