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Blue Jays losing streak extends to 3 after 5-2 loss to Cleveland Guardians

TORONTO — Canadian Bo Naylor and the Cleveland Guardians gave the slumping Toronto Blue Jays a lesson in producing runs in the series opener on Friday.
Cleveland Guardians' Ramon Laureano (right) celebrates his two-run home run with Oscar Gonzalez (39) while Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk (centre) looks on during fourth inning MLB baseball action, in Toronto on Friday, August 25, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

TORONTO — Canadian Bo Naylor and the Cleveland Guardians gave the slumping Toronto Blue Jays a lesson in producing runs in the series opener on Friday.

Naylor, Ramon Laureano and Andres Gimenez each smashed homers in the Guardians 5-2 win as the Blue Jays (70-59) lost for the third time in a row before 40,755 at Rogers Centre.

With Toronto ahead 1-0 after George Springer's lead-off homer to right field in the second inning, Naylor, a 23-year-old rookie catcher from Mississauga, ON, tied the game with a one-out blast in the third inning for his fifth that landed in a similar spot as Springer's in the Guardians (61-68) bullpen.

"All the things, working up to this moment, have made it super special, having the people I love dearest closest to me here. And to add a win on top of that, it's a great night," said Naylor, who had several family members and friends in attendance.

It wasn't a dreadful night for the Blue Jays at the plate. They only mustered six hits and have produced just five runs in their three-game losing streak as Toronto remains 1 1/5 games out of the final wild-card spot in the American League.

"We have the guys in the locker room who can do it," Blue Jays starter Chris Bassitt (12-7) said. "There's a lot of teams in the race sometimes, and they just don't have the guys to do it. We have the guys to do it. We just got to get it done."

Laureano smacked a two-run shot to right-centre field with two out in the fourth inning after Oscar Gonzalez reached base on an infield hit.

The centrefielder increased Cleveland's lead to 4-1 with a one-out double down the right-field line to cash in Gonzalez, who started a sixth-inning rally with a double.

Gimenez hit his homer in the eighth inning after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smacked his team-leading 19th in the sixth to bring Toronto within 4-2.

Four of Cleveland's runs came off Bassitt. He lasted 5 and 2/3 innings with seven hits, five strikeouts and two walks, including an intentional walk to Jose Ramirez in the fifth inning.

"I felt fine," Bassitt said. "I just felt like a pitched terrible."

Guardians 24-year-old rookie righty Tanner Bibee (10-3) went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and a walk in six innings.

After Guerrero's homer, the following seven Blue Jays batters went down in order.

Guerrero also was thrown out in the fourth inning, trying to score from first to third on Matt Chapman's double to left. Shortstop Gabriel Arias's relay from Steven Kwan to Naylor nipped Guerrero at the plate.

"When you have a tough time stringing a lot of runs together, you're aggressive," Toronto manager John Schneider said. "There was a good read off the bat. It was a hell of a throw by the shortstop, but that was about as well executed the way we did it.

"[Third-base coach Luis] Rivera was spot on. You're trying to force the issue to make it a one-run game."

The Blue Jays also stranded Alejandro Kirk at third base with one out after Whit Merrifield and Bo Bichette stuck out to end the fifth inning.

Cleveland reliever Emmanuel Clase picked up his 34th save by retiring three of four Toronto hitters in the ninth.


Now that Alek Manoah (3-9) has joined Triple-A Buffalo after being demoted, neither Blue Jays manager John Schneider nor general manager Ross Atkins were willing to say when the troubled right-handed pitcher would make his first start for the Bisons.

Atkins did say that the two weeks off for Manoah to undergo extensive medical tests were a mutual decision between the Blue Jays and Manoah.

"It was just to be thorough," Atkins said. "We just wanted to make sure nothing was lingering."

Atkins said Manoah hasn't been dealing with any injuries and didn't rule out the possibility of the righty rejoining the Blue Jays later next month.


A pair of southpaws take the mound in the middle of the three-game set, with Toronto's Hyun Jin Ryu (2-1) facing Logan Allen (6-6) on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2023.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press