Happ, Blue Jays denied sole possession of first

Happ, Blue Jays denied sole possession of first

TORONTO -- Mike Trout had three hits and drove in four runs Thursday night as the Angels made sure the Blue Jays could not get too comfortable sitting alone atop the standings in the American League East with a 6-3 victory at Rogers Centre.

Toronto had an opportunity to pull one game ahead of Boston, but instead both teams still find themselves tied following a pair of losses on Thursday. That created the possibility for a three-way tie in the standings, but the Orioles also lost, 4-0, in Washington to remain one game back.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays' offence finds itself in another rut

But Gibbons points to how Toronto broke out of previous slump earlier this year

Blue Jays' offence finds itself in another rut

TORONTO -- John Gibbons has been known to say that when the Blue Jays don't score in bunches, they don't win. That point was driven home yet again on Thursday night.

Toronto's offense continued its recent downward trend in another disappointing 6-3 loss to the Angels. The Blue Jays' lineup struggled early this year, and then bounced back by the end of May, but the issues have resurfaced during the dog days of August.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Activated from DL, Bautista leads off, plates 2

Serving as DH, slugger likely to remain toward top of Blue Jays' batting order

Activated from DL, Bautista leads off, plates 2

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista made his return to the Blue Jays' starting lineup on Thursday night after missing the previous 15 days with a twisted left knee, but it was not enough to avoid a 6-3 loss to the Angels.

Bautista was activated from the DL prior to the game, and he went 1-for-4 with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly in the losing cause. Ryan Goins was optioned to the Minor Leagues to make room for Bautista on the 25-man roster.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Liriano seeking first Toronto win as Twins visit

Liriano seeking first Toronto win as Twins visit

After throwing a scoreless inning of relief against the Tigers on Tuesday, Twins left-hander Pat Dean was pulled aside after the game by pitching coach Neil Allen. He informed the rookie he'd be starting in the opener of a three-game series against the Blue Jays that begins in Toronto on Friday, with fellow lefty Hector Santiago pushed back from his scheduled start with a bruised left thumb. It will be a tall task for the 27-year-old, who will be facing one of the best offenses in baseball.

The scuffling Twins will be going up against a familiar face in lefty Francisco Liriano, who pitched in Minnesota from 2005-12. It'll be Dean's first start in the Majors since June 17, but he had success against the Blue Jays on May 21, when he limited them to two runs on three hits over six innings. But Toronto's offense has heated up in recent months, and the Twins have historically had trouble at Rogers Centre.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson uses Arenado's bat, hits home run

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Donaldson uses Arenado's bat, hits home run

In the month of August entering Thursday, Josh Donaldson was hitting just .235 with three homers and seven RBIs. He's in what big leaguers dread being in more than anything else in the world, a slump. So he decided to use Nolan Arenado's powerful bat -- which former Rockies teammate/current Blue Jay Troy Tulowitzki had in the clubhouse.

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18th-rounder Jones swats three homers for Bluefield Jays

Blue Jays' 18th-rounder records career-high four hits and drives in five

18th-rounder Jones swats three homers for Bluefield Jays

Bradley Jones continues to show off his home run trot as he hit three homers in Rookie-level Bluefield's 12-5 win over Pulaski on Thursday.

Jones, the Blue Jays' 18th-round selection in the 2016 Draft, went 4-for-4 with three homers, a double and five RBIs in the best offensive game of his young career. The four hits marked a new high for Jones.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays can't dig out of hole vs. Halos

Blue Jays can't dig out of hole vs. Halos

TORONTO -- Mike Trout and Albert Pujols each homered as the Angels scored early and often to back six scoreless innings from Matt Shoemaker during an 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

The Angels scored two in the first and three in the second and never looked back. Trout and Pujols combined to go 7-for-8 with four RBIs, while catcher Jett Bandy chipped in with a four-hit night. Pujols' homer was the 584th of his career, passing former Cardinals teammate Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th all-time.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto. He covered the Angels on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Estrada: Extra rest not source of struggles

Right-hander has allowed 11 runs over last two starts

Estrada: Extra rest not source of struggles

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' decision to go with a six-man rotation appears to have impacted at least one of its starters as Marco Estrada has yet to figure things out since the change was made earlier this month.

Estrada struggled again Wednesday night by allowing a season-high six runs in an 8-2 loss to the Angels. The veteran righty has now allowed 11 runs over his last two starts and hasn't tossed more than five innings since Aug. 3, which was before Toronto officially added an extra starter to the roster.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Urena, Smith top prospect performers Wednesday

Red Sox flamethrower notches 10 K's with career-high seven frames

Urena, Smith top prospect performers Wednesday

Michael Kopech may be the hottest pitcher in all of Minor League Baseball these days as he continues to shut down opposing lineups with a plethora of strikeouts.

The 20-year-old was on fire once again Wednesday, leading Class A Advanced Salem to a 9-1 win over Potomac.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martin muscles 1st-place Blue Jays over Angels

Martin muscles 1st-place Blue Jays over Angels

TORONTO -- Russell Martin continued his torrid hitting to pace Toronto's offense, while R.A. Dickey notched another strong outing to lead the Blue Jays over the Angels, 7-2, on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

Though he'd normally receive a day off with Dickey on the mound, Martin went 3-for-3 out of the DH spot and drove in a pair of runs to help the Blue Jays open their six-game homestand with a victory. Michael Saunders also added his 21st home run of the season, while Troy Tulowitzki continued his strong August with an RBI double as part of Toronto's 10-hit attack.

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Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Angels on Tuesday.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dickey guts out win to continue strong August

Right-hander overcomes 'mediocre' knuckleball in victory over Angels

Dickey guts out win to continue strong August

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' rotation has been a major strength all season, and it has the potential to be even better with a consistent final stretch from R.A. Dickey.

The 41-year-old knuckleballer continued his solid August with 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball on Tuesday, helping the Blue Jays open a critical six-game homestand with a 7-2 victory over the Angels.

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Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pillar activated after first DL stint; Tepera optioned

Pillar activated after first DL stint; Tepera optioned

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays activated outfielder Kevin Pillar from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Angels.

Pillar had been out since Aug. 6 with a sprained left thumb he sustain while sliding headfirst into second base against the Royals, and the stint was his first Major League appearance on the DL. To make room on the 25-man roster, Toronto optioned right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera to Triple-A Buffalo.

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Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays option All-Star Sanchez to Minor Leagues

Toronto makes move since right-hander was going to have start skipped

Blue Jays option All-Star Sanchez to Minor Leagues

CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays have found a creative way to limit Aaron Sanchez's workload this season by deciding to option the powerful right-hander to Class A Advanced Dunedin on Sunday.

The move is designed to protect Sanchez, who has tossed a career-high 156 1/3 innings this season. Toronto's goal is to have Sanchez finish the year in the starting rotation, and the hope is that a little breather now will help that become a reality.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays let Tribe rally after Stroman exits

Blue Jays let Tribe rally after Stroman exits

CLEVELAND -- Everyone in the ballpark knew it was gone as soon as it left his bat. Jose Ramirez's eighth-inning, two-run blast over the wall in left lifted the Indians past the Blue Jays, 3-2, in Sunday's series finale at Progressive Field.

According to Statcast™, Ramirez's homer off Jays reliever Brett Cecil went an estimated 401 feet with an exit velocity of 104 mph. It was his 10th home run of the season, with six of them coming in the eighth or ninth inning. It pushed the Tribe past Toronto in the rubber game between two first-place clubs in a potential postseason preview.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Greene among top prospect performers Monday

Dodgers No. 2 prospect flirts with no-hitter; Giants' No. 22 stays hot with multi-homer game

Greene among top prospect performers Monday

Since beginning his season in early May, Jose De Leon has been making a strong case for a late-season promotion to the Major Leagues.

The Dodgers' No. 2 prospect took another step towards achieving that goal on Monday, when he struck out 10 hitters over seven scoreless innings to pace Triple-A Oklahoma City in a 7-0 shutout of New Orleans. He carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before surrendering a leadoff single to Marlins No. 11 prospect J.T. Riddle. It was the only hit the right-hander allowed in the contest. De Leon also induced eight ground-ball outs while throwing 66 of his 88 pitches for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

High-leverage situations a struggle for Cecil

Blue Jays left-hander allows go-ahead home run in loss to Indians

High-leverage situations a struggle for Cecil

CLEVELAND -- Brett Cecil's disappointing season went from bad to worse as his struggles continued in another late-inning loss to the Indians.

Cecil was called upon in the eighth inning to protect a one-run lead on Sunday afternoon, but he ended up surrendering a two-run homer to Jose Ramirez. That proved to be the breaking point in Toronto's 3-2 loss in the series finale at Progressive Field.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Guerrero, Smith among top prospect performers Sunday

Brewers' No. 4 prospect strikes out 12, White Sox's No. 8 flirts with no-hitter

Guerrero, Smith among top prospect performers Sunday

Finding success at the Triple-A level hasn't come easily for Josh Hader. At least not until Sunday night, when the Brewers' No. 4 prospect set a career high by striking out 12 hitters in six scoreless innings to pace Colorado Springs in a 6-0 shutout of Round Rock. He threw 65 of his 99 pitches for strikes, allowing just two hits and one walk to record his first Triple-A win in 12 starts.

Ranked No. 39 on the Top 100, Hader has pitched better for Colorado Springs than his 1-5 record and 4.79 ERA suggest. With his performance Sunday, the 22-year-old left-hander now has fanned 81 hitters in 62 innings since being promoted from Double-A Biloxi on June 11, and he's yielded just three home runs in that span. Hader has thrown the ball particularly well of late, too, registering a 2.88 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings across his past six turns.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Toronto rides trio of HRs to edge Tribe

Toronto rides trio of HRs to edge Tribe

CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays muscled their way past the Indians with a 6-5 victory in the latest clash of two first-place teams. Toronto blasted a trio of home runs to top Cleveland in front of a sold-out crowd on Saturday night at Progressive Field.

All three Toronto homers came off Tribe righty Josh Tomlin, who was on the hook for the loss. Russell Martin and Melvin Upton Jr. each went yard off the right-hander in the third to jump out to a 5-0 lead. Edwin Encarnacion took Tomlin deep with a solo shot to left to break a 5-5 deadlock in the fifth. Tomlin lasted 4 1/3 frames, in which he allowed six runs on nine hits.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roberto's redemption: Closer bounces back

Young righty retires part of Tribe lineup that gave him trouble day before for save No. 28

Roberto's redemption: Closer bounces back

CLEVELAND -- Roberto Osuna only had to wait 24 hours to get the redemption he was looking for against the Indians.

One night after blowing a save in the series opener, Osuna was back on the mound and put the finishing touches on a 6-5 Toronto victory over Cleveland on Saturday. In an ironic twist, it also came against the same part of the order that caused so much difficulty the night before.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martin's HR, Liriano's solid 6 not enough

Martin's HR, Liriano's solid 6 not enough

CLEVELAND -- For the second straight night, Tyler Naquin is the hero in the second consecutive Indians walk-off. The rookie outfielder scored on an inside-the-park home run to top Toronto, 3-2, on Friday night at Progressive Field in a battle between two first-place teams.

Jose Ramirez gave the the Indians life in the home half of the ninth with a one-out solo shot to right off Blue Jays righty Roberto Osuna. Naquin followed suit, lifting one off the wall in right before racing around the bases.
 

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Happ's MLB-best 17th win spurs Blue Jays

Happ's MLB-best 17th win spurs Blue Jays

NEW YORK -- When J.A. Happ pitches well, the Blue Jays win. When the offense shows off its potential, the Blue Jays win. When both happen, that's just a good day.

After scoring 12 unanswered runs in Tuesday's victory, the Toronto offense picked up right where it left off Wednesday afternoon, getting runners on base at a high rate and beating the Yankees, 7-4. Center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. provided the biggest blow, lacing a three-run home run over the short porch in right field in the Blue Jays' four-run fifth inning.

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Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays dismiss scouting director Parker

National crosschecker Davis also let go by organization

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have continued to shake up their front office by dismissing director of amateur scouting Brian Parker and national crosschecker Blake Davis.

Parker joined the Blue Jays in 2009, when he came over from the Nationals organization. He spent time as a scout and a crosschecker before being promoted to the director of amateur scouting position in '12.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Osuna has rare off night in tough loss to Tribe

Righty allows 2 homers in game for 1st time in career

Osuna has rare off night in tough loss to Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Roberto Osuna has been almost perfect this season, but like everyone, he has moments of weakness. And on Friday night, that was all it took to send the Blue Jays to a crushing loss.

Osuna surrendered back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Indians walked off in dramatic fashion. A solo home run by Jose Ramirez and an inside-the-park homer by Tyler Naquin, and just like that, a 2-1 victory turned into a 3-2 loss.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thumb injury caps eventful day for Donaldson

Third baseman day to day, laughs off verbal incident with manager Gibbons

Thumb injury caps eventful day for Donaldson

NEW YORK -- Josh Donaldson is considered day to day after he was removed during the sixth inning of Wednesday's 7-4 victory over the Yankees because of a jammed right thumb. Donaldson's departure was unrelated to a verbal altercation that he appeared to have with manager John Gibbons earlier in the game.

Donaldson struck out in the top of the third inning, and after returning to the dugout, he slammed his bat in frustration. Gibbons then approached Donaldson and the two exchanged words, at one point going face to face during the apparent disagreement. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and backup catcher Josh Thole separated the two, and the situation never got physical.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays storm back to stun Yankees

Blue Jays storm back to stun Yankees

NEW YORK -- After a rain delay, the Blue Jays scored 12 unanswered runs against the Yankees to erase a six-run deficit and reclaim sole possession of first place in the American League East with a 12-6 victory at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.

With his team trailing by two runs, Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with a clutch home run in the eighth inning off relief pitcher Adam Warren, driving in Josh Donaldson, who drew a 12-pitch walk just two pitches earlier. Three batters later, Russell Martin broke the tie, unleashing his second home run of the game, scoring Troy Tulowitzki and giving the Blue Jays a two-run lead. Tulowitzki and Martin combined for six hits, five RBIs and three home runs.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Back in the Bronx, Martin mashes for Toronto

Last three multihomer games for Blue Jays catcher have come at Yankee Stadium

Back in the Bronx, Martin mashes for Toronto

NEW YORK -- Russell Martin might be Canadian, but it's pretty evident that he loves playing in the Big Apple.

Martin picked up the 12th multihomer game of his career in the Blue Jays' dramatic come-from-behind, 12-6 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday night. Each of his last three multihomer games have come at Yankee Stadium, a place he called home from 2011-12.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3-RBI night puts Encarnacion 1st to 100 RBIs

Blue Jays slugger comes up big in comeback victory vs. Yankees

3-RBI night puts Encarnacion 1st to 100 RBIs

NEW YORK -- On the big stage at Yankee Stadium, in the middle of a pennant race, Edwin Encarnacion ensured he stood out from the rest of the pack by becoming the first player in the Major Leagues to reach 100 RBIs.

Encarnacion went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs in Toronto's 12-6 victory on Tuesday night. A two-run shot brought his total to 99, and he later hit the 100-RBI plateau for the fourth time in his career with a fielder's choice.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays activate Carrera, designate Lake

Blue Jays activate Carrera, designate Lake

The Blue Jays activated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday night's game against the Yankees.

Carrera had been out since July 31 with a strained left Achilles' tendon. Outfielder Junior Lake was designated for assignment to make room for Carrera on the 25-man active roster.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.