Gausman struggles as Blue Jays stumble in loss to Mariners


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One knew the Jays were in for a long night based on the way starting pitcher Kevin Gausman began his evening.

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Gausman has been the man, but he was a man under extreme during Wednesday night. For the first time in a Toronto uniform, Gausman gave up a home run in an eventual 5-1 loss to Seattle.

He entered the game without having surrendered a long ball in 53.0 straight innings dating back to last season, the longest active streak among all starters.

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It all evaporated when Seattle’s No. 9 hitter, Cal Raleigh, took Gausman deep in the fifth. Despite the 2-1 disadvantage, the Jays appeared to be in deep trouble.

This could easily be summed up as one of those nights when the Jays’ offense and pitching were equally bad against a Seattle team that swung the bats well and received solid pitching from starter Marco Gonzales, who walked in a run.

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At least Vladimir Guerrero Jr. extended his hit streak to a career-best 15 games, one of the very few bright spots to emerge in the loss, one which included the Jays’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. leaving the game with hamstring tightness.

There was no energy with the roof closed at Rogers Centre, no hint that the home side would mount any real challenge, no chance to pull off the three-game sweep.

“It was all right,” said Gausman of his five-inning outing. “I competed. I wasn’t as sharp as I have been this season. If you watched any of our games you could probably tell that.

“They (Mariners) did a good job of battling me. I’ve got to give them credit. They laid off a lot of really good pitches. They really got my pitch count up and it got to me early. I felt like I threw 50 pitches in the first inning.

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“I think I was at 18 pitches at one point and hadn’t got an out yet.”

Right from the start, Seattle seemed to have Gausman’s number following a succession of hits that landed the righty on the ropes.

It could have been much worse given the carnage at the plate, which would see the Mariners produce five hits through two innings.

And yet only one run would be scored. An inning-ending double play helped mitigate the damage.
In the home half of the third, the Jays began to find their stroke, an inning that began with back-to-back singles.

With runners at the corner and two outs, Bo Bichette stepped up to the plate. He drew a walk to load the bases.

The crowd then roared in anticipation as Vlad Jr. made his way to the batter’s box.

Gonzales would issue a walk to Vlad Jr. as the Jays got on the scoreboard.

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Teoscar Hernandez ended the inning on a groundout, getting picked off at second with one out in the sixth.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Rogers Center.  DAN HAMILTON/USA TODAY SPORTS
Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners in the second inning at Rogers Center. DAN HAMILTON/USA TODAY SPORTS

ROMAN UPDATE

The status of closer Jordan Romano was broached by GM Ross Atkins in the hours leading up to Wednesday’s opening pitch.

According to Atkins, Romano is dealing with a gastrointestinal infection, but the GM does not envision Toronto’s closer moving to the injured list.

In other words, he’s day to day. His most recent appearance came Saturday in Tampa against the host Rays.

He has recorded 12 saves for the Jays.

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VOTE IN THE 6IX
Joey Votto returned to his baseball roots in Dayton, Ohio as part of his rehab assignment.

He’ll be back to his family roots Friday when Cincinnati comes to town.

The future hall of famer is a Toronto native who attended Richview Collegiate.

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Votto was a teenager when he suited up for the Dayton Dragons, Cincinnati’s class-A affiliate.

What followed was a career worthy of enshrinement.

More recently, Votto was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on May 3.

Coincidentally, he’ll make his return to the bigs in Toronto.

“I will likely be there Friday,” he said on a Zoom call Wednesday. “Nothing comes to mind that would keep me from being there Friday. I feel well. I’ve been competing well. I played seven innings yesterday (Tuesday). I’m ready to play.”

Votto, 38, would have continued his rehab assignment if he wasn’t in a position to return.

“The timing just worked out,” added Votto, who also contracted the virus last year in spring training. “If I wasn’t ready, if I ended up taking this time off, five or six days later, I would have missed the series.

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“I just want to come back and perform well. I’ve performed so poorly this season, it’s not something I’m comfortable with or used to. Coming back from being on the couch or in bed for eight, nine days, I need to make sure that I’m in a good way physically or else I risk injury, or I risk poor performance. I have to come back and perform well.”

Prior to his stint on the injured list, Votto appeared in 22 games for the Reds, hitting .122 with one extra-base hit.

Votto has been messaging his mom and knows there will be plenty of family and friends in attendance Friday.

“I have great memories of the city and certainly of the Jays,” said the first baseman.

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