Aiming for a rare series sweep, the Blue Jays instead got beaten 5-2 by the worst team in baseball on Wednesday afternoon.
Coming off 7-1 and 6-5 wins in Oakland and attempting to break out the brooms for the first time since August 4-6 in Boston and the seventh time all season, the Jays instead couldn’t get the bats going and were victimized by a one-time farmhand.
Kevin Smith, one of five players traded before the 2022 season for Matt Chapman, took reliever Trevor Richards deep for a three-run home run in the sixth inning to break open a close game.
Earlier catcher Carlos Perez blasted out a Hyun-Jin Ryu offering for a two-run home run to give Oakland the lead.
Toronto had opened the scoring in the second off a double by Cavan Biggio and a single by Ernie Clement.
Mason Miller was outstanding for Oakland in relief of starter JP Sears. Sears was just 3-11 entering the game, but held Toronto to just one run, despite surrendering four walks and four hits in five innings. Miller retired six straight Jays, three of them by strikeout, neutralizing any threat of a rally. Rookie sensation Davis Schnedier greeted Dany Jiminez in the eighth with a solo home run, his seventh, but the visitors couldn’t get any closer.
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Ryu went five innings, surrendering two earned runs on five hits and a walk in his eighth start of the year since returning from Tommy John Surgery. He had gone 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous five starts, but wasn’t quite as sharp in this one. Still, he got little support from his teammates.
Toronto had to settle with a third straight series where they took two of three against weak competition. Next up is the second-worst team in MLB, the Kansas City Royals, starting Friday at Rogers Centre. After that, things should get a lot more interesting, with Texas in for four and then Boston, still faintly clinging to life in the wild-card race, arriving for three games.
The positive news for Toronto was that the team’s top player, Bo Bichette, could possibly return on the weekend, according to Sportsnet. However, Chapman the standout third baseman who is battling a finger injury, is apparently much further behind. Chapman was fielding some balls earlier Wednesday, but continues to be uncomfortable swinging a bat.