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Blue Jays expected to look to bullpen in finale vs. Mariners

Sportsnaut
Jul 9, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo-home run against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Gausman apparently won’t be ready to start Sunday afternoon when the Toronto Blue Jays wrap up a four-game series in Seattle.

That means the Blue Jays will have to rely on their bullpen to help them avoid a sweep at T-Mobile Park. They did not announce a starter for Sunday’s series finale.

Toronto had hoped Gausman would be back in time for his scheduled start Thursday in the series opener at Seattle. When he wasn’t, relievers Anthony Banda and Casey Lawrence were tagged with seven runs over the opening three innings of an 8-3 loss.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said then that Gausman might be ready for the series finale, but admitted Saturday the right-hander was being pushed back again. Gausman is nursing a bone bruise in his right ankle after being hit by a comebacker last weekend against Tampa Bay.

The Blue Jays have lost eight of their past nine games, scoring more than three runs just once in that span. They have seen their hold over one of the American League’s three wild cards dwindle to a single game over the Mariners, who have won seven straight and 15 of their past 18.

Toronto’s lone run Saturday came on a leadoff homer by George Springer in the sixth inning off former teammate Robbie Ray, the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner.

“We’re putting the ball in play, we’re just not getting the big hits in a timely fashion. I’m not so concerned about our hitting because we’re gonna hit. I’m telling you right now we’re gonna hit,” Montoya said. “I just want our pitching to get back on track and the last two days our pitching has done a great job keeping us in games. And if we do that, we’re gonna hit and we’re going to start winning some games.”

After getting a three-run homer from Eugenio Suarez in the 11th inning Friday night to win 5-2, the Mariners prevailed 2-1 Saturday on Carlos Santana’s two-run shot in the seventh.

Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah allowed just one hit through the first six innings. J.P. Crawford grounded a single to right to open the seventh and Santana followed with a blast off the facade of the second deck in right field.

It was Santana’s first home run for the Mariners since being acquired in a June 27 trade with Kansas City.

Santana said he fed off the crowd, which had plenty of Blue Jays fans in attendance.

“The energy is great,” Santana said. “We have to keep it up. It’s a long season.”

The Mariners are scheduled to send right-hander Logan Gilbert (10-3, 2.61 ERA) to the mound Sunday. Gilbert has won three straight starts and five of his past six.

Gilbert sustained a 3-0 loss May 17 at Toronto despite recording quality start. He allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings and matched his season-high with nine strikeouts. Gilbert is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts against Toronto.

–Field Level Media