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Gregor Chisholm: Blue Jays say hello to doctor long ball and goodbye to seven-game losing streak

Toronto Star logo Toronto Star 4 days ago Gregor Chisholm - Baseball Columnist
a baseball player throwing a ball: Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio makes the tag and braces for impact as Red Sox baserunner Rafael Devers tries and fails to take an extra base on a first-inning single on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre. © Fred Thornhill Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio makes the tag and braces for impact as Red Sox baserunner Rafael Devers tries and fails to take an extra base on a first-inning single on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays put an end to their season-high seven-game losing streak on Tuesday night, and to the surprise of almost no one they did it with the long ball.

Cavan Biggio, Reese McGuire and Rowdy Tellez all homered in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox at the Rogers Centre. The win was their first this month and improved the club’s record to 56-89. The Jays need to win seven of the final 17 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1979.

All of Toronto’s runs in the series opener came via the home run, which has been par for the course this season. The Jays have scored 340 of their 631 runs on homers, which at 53.9 per cent is on pace to be the highest rate in major-league history. Toronto owns the previous record of 53.1 per cent, which was set in 2010.

“I think this lineup is capable of great things,” Jays starter T.J. Zeuch said. “You guys got a little taste of it tonight with the power. Names like Biggio, Bichette, Tellez, Vladdy, I think the lineup has a ceilingless potential.”

Boston opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Mookie Betts homered on the first pitch of the game. From there, Toronto’s bats did most of the damage with Biggio connecting on a solo shot in the third, McGuire adding a solo shot in the fourth and Tellez putting his team in front for good with a two-run homer in the fifth.

For Tellez it was home run No. 18 on the season and six of those have come in 10 games against the Red Sox. He also became the fourth player in club history to pick up at least 25 homers over his first 120 big-league games.

“I’m just getting the pitches I need to get to, and I’m not trying to do too much in situations where, sometimes when I was younger, I would try hit the ball a country mile when all you have to do is hit it right over the wall,” Tellez said.

Zeuch got the start for Toronto and had a solid outing but did not factor into the decision. Zeuch allowed three runs on six hits over 41/3 innings. The 24-year-old could use some improvement with his 46-36 strike-to-ball ratio and he finished with just one strikeout, but overall the Jays have to be pleased with what they have seen from the September call-up.

Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi also came away with the no-decision after he allowed three runs over 41/3 innings. The loss went to lefty Josh Taylor, who surrendered the go-ahead homer to Tellez. The win allowed the Jays to avoid their longest losing streak since 2009, when it reached nine games. Instead, the club’s seven-game losing streak matched its worst from 2017.

  • Elvis (almost) in the house: Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano is nearing a return from the injured list. The 19-year-old pitcher has been out since June 12 with a right elbow injury. Luciano threw a simulated game prior to Tuesday night’s series opener vs. Boston and is expected to be added to the roster either Wednesday or Thursday. Luciano needs to be activated before the end of the Red Sox series in order to finish with at least 90 days of service, which is the minimum amount of time a Rule 5 pick is required to be on the active roster. If Luciano does not reach 90 days, he must be offered back to the Royals.

  • Gurriel update: Injured Blue Jays outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., on the injured list since Aug. 9 with a left quad strain, is going to take a little bit longer. “Gurriel’s not there yet,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He just ran but still feels something. Still got to run the bases. Got a good chance maybe at the end of the week, we’ll see.”

  • Up next: Right-hander Trent Thornton (4-9, 5.23) will take the mound when the Jays continue their three-game series against the Red Sox on Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Boston is set to counter with righty Jhoulys Chacin (3-10, 5.66).

Gregor Chisholm is a Toronto-based baseball columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @GregorChisholm or reach him via email: gchisholm@thestar.ca

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