Blue Jays sweep away Rangers with back-to-back shutouts in doubleheader

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The Blue Jays seem bent on leaving their mark on Buffalo before winging it back across the border.

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Sahlen Field has been good to the Jays, but the team’s time at its triple-A facility is winding down with the end to arrive on Wednesday with the conclusion of a three-game set against Boston. They then hit the road again to face the Mets and Red Sox before their long-awaited homecoming at the Rogers Centre on July 30 to face the Royals.

The Jays changed the paint scheme on the dugouts to read: ‘Thank You Buffalo’ and included the logo of the Bisons, the triple-A affiliate they displaced this season.

The stretch drive in the Queen City began with a bang as the Jays rather convincingly took both ends of a seven-inning doubleheader against the Teas Rangers — 5-0 in the first game behind Hyun Jin Ryu, and 10-0 in Game 2 —to sweep the three-game set.
In Friday’s series opener, the Jays crushed the Rangers 10-2.

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Ryu was never threatened, outside of the very first pitch he threw, to become Toronto’s first pitcher this season to nine wins.

Saturday’s scheduled game was rained out, allowing Ryu an extra day of rest and he responded by crafting a complete-game three-hitter.

The shutout was Ryu’s first since May 7, 2019 when he pitched for the L.A. Dodgers.

“During the bullpen sessions I had before the all-star break, I talked with (pitching coach) Pete (Walker) and we discussed how my arm slot and release point had been dropping a bit,” said Ryu through a translator.

“(On Sunday) I was able to get on top again and that resulted in the changeup and the rest of my pitches to be a little faster than normal.”

His afternoon began with leadoff hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa turning on his first pitch and sending it deep to left field where Lourdes Gurriel Jr. caught it at the wall.

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Gurriel Jr. later misjudged a ball, yet again, while George Springer allowed another ball to go under his glove for a stand-up triple, the only extra-base hits that Ryu surrendered.
In each case, no error was given.

Ryu needed just four pitches to retire the Rangers in the first inning and 83 for the game, which took one hour and 48 minutes, the shortest in the major leagues this season.
The Rangers are short on talent, but credit the Jays for taking advantage of an inferior foe.

In Sunday’s second game, No. 8 hitter Gurriel keyed a six-run first inning for the Jays by launching a grand slam to left off shell-shocked Texas starter Mike Foltynewicz.

Toronto clubbed four homers in all in the ‘nightcap’ to provide starter Steven Matz with more than enough run support as the Jays led 10-0 after two innings.

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Matz went five innings and did not issue a walk.
In the 14 innings played on Sunday, Texas produced just six hits.

SPRINGER HAS SPRUNG

Springer entered the day well below the dreaded Mendoza line — a .200 batting average — though the Jays continue to use him at cleanup.

The growing hysteria surrounding Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the team’s imminent return to Toronto have completely taken the attention away from Springer’s rather underwhelming performance at the plate.

He did, however, show signs of life against the Rangers, getting on base twice in Game 1 in three at-bats and stealing his second base of the season, while hitting a home run, his sixth of the season, in Game 2 while going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .210.

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Springer’s second-inning blast followed a bomb by Vlad Jr., who stroked his 31st of the season.

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VALERA BACK WITH JAYS

Utility infielder and switch-hitter Breyvic Valera is the latest addition to Toronto’s roster.
He was active for Sunday’s double-dip.

Valera appeared in five games with the Blue Jays two years ago, recording four hits and three RBIs with one homer.

He pinch-hit in the sixth inning in Game 2 on Sunday and struck out swinging.

Outfielder Jonathan Davis was optioned to triple-A, but stuck around as the designated 27th player for the doubleheader.

Davis was in left field for Gurriel to end Game 1. He then replaced Springer in centre in Game 2.

In another roster move, the team designated left-hander Nick Allgeyer for assignment.

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BRING ON BOSTON

The Jays’ rotation against the Red Sox — a team they are chasing in the AL East standings and will see a lot of in the coming few weeks — will feature Ross Stripling getting the start in Monday’s series opener followed by Alek Manoah and Robbie Ray.

HEIM’S TIME

Amherst, N.Y., native Jonah Heim received loud ovations at Sahlen Field, a venue the Rangers catcher used to visit when attending youth camps and then watching from the stands when the Bisons were in action.

Heim even has a tattoo of the Buffalo skyline on his arm.

He had never played in what is essentially his home ball park in front of family and friends.

Heim had a double in the series opener on Friday and stroked a single in Sunday’s Game 2, by far the best moments on the afternoon outside of any Blue Jays feat.

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