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Jansen homers as Blue Jays top Nationals 6-3

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TORONTO – The feeling after an ominous first inning quickly evaporated for the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night thanks to some solid offensive play and run support for starter Kevin Gausman.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run double in Toronto’s four-run second inning and Danny Jansen hit a solo homer in the third as the Blue Jays defeated the Washington Nationals 6-3.

Eight of the nine Toronto starters had at least one hit as the Blue Jays kept pace with the teams they’re chasing in the American League wild-card race.

“It’s awesome to see the contributions from everybody,” said Jansen, who scored three times. “That’s what it’s going to take.”

Gausman gave up an early run as he laboured through a 26-pitch first inning. The Blue Jays threatened in the bottom half but their Achilles heel this season — driving in runners in scoring position — appeared to be an issue again as they left the bases loaded.

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But like he did in the opening frame, Washington starter Josiah Gray (7-11) issued two free passes in the second inning and this time the Blue Jays took advantage.

George Springer singled home Jansen from second base and Guerrero lashed a ball off the wall in right-centre field to plate two more runs. Davis Schneider added an RBI single to make it 4-1.

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Left-hander Robert Garcia came on in the third and gave up a no-doubt solo shot to Jansen. It was his 16th home run of the year.

Toronto (72-60) won for the second time in six games to remain 2 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, who were also victorious.

It was the 30th comeback win of the season for the Blue Jays, who have the best interleague record (27-14) in the major leagues.

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CJ Abrams singled off Gausman’s first pitch of the night and promptly stole second. He came across on a single by Joey Meneses.

Gausman (10-8) fanned Dominic Smith to lead off the fourth inning for his 200th strikeout of the season. The Nationals halved the lead in the fifth on a two-run double by Meneses.

“I thought (Gausman) had a good heater and used it well,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. “And still, 200 strikeouts before September is really damn impressive.

“So on a night when he probably wasn’t his sharpest — and we were hoping for him to go pretty deep into the game — I thought he just made big pitches when he had to really.”

Kevin Kiermaier restored Toronto’s three-run cushion in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single that scored Jansen.

Trevor Richards pitched two clean innings of relief for Toronto. Genesis Cabrera retired the side in the eighth and Jordan Hicks worked the ninth for his 12th save.

Gausman finished with seven strikeouts over five innings. He issued two walks and allowed seven hits and three earned runs.

“I got lucky that I was able to go five,” Gausman said of his 99-pitch effort. “They did a really good job of grinding out at-bats. They laid off a lot of really good (splitters).”

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Announced attendance was 27,940 and the game took two hours 51 minutes to play.

It was the first time the Nationals (61-71) have played at Rogers Centre since 2018.

WHO’S ON THIRD?

With Matt Chapman (finger) placed on the 10-day injured list Monday, Schneider got the start at third base in the opener of the three-game series.

The rookie is one of many backup options at the hot corner along with Guerrero, Whit Merrifield, Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio.

Also Monday, Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette had an MRI exam on his sore right quadriceps but results weren’t announced. His absence left the skipper with a new-look left side of the infield.

“It’s going to be grimy, it’s going to be dirty, it’s going to be hard,” John Schneider said of the positional adjustments. “It’s going to be different than what we’re used to (after) running out the same guys for basically five months.

“You’ve got to look at it as an opportunity for guys to step up.”

Triple-A call-up Ernie Clement, who could also fill in at third base if needed, started at shortstop.

DREW DROP IN

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The Nationals transferred right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. (shoulder) to the 60-day injured list and selected the contract of catcher Drew Millas from triple-A Rochester.

Millas made his big-league debut with a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning. The 25-year-old switch-hitter grounded out.

COMING UP

Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios (9-9, 3.55 earned-run average) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Nationals left-hander MacKenzie Gore (6-10, 4.38).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press



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