Blue Jays climb into 1st behind Happ, Pillar

Blue Jays climb into 1st behind Happ, Pillar

TORONTO -- There's a new team atop the standings in the American League East: the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto took over the top spot in the division following a 9-1 victory over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. It's the first time the Blue Jays have been in first place since April 4, which was the second game of the regular season.

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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.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

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

Playoff atmosphere returning like it's 2015

Playoff atmosphere returning like it's 2015

TORONTO -- The atmosphere, the opponent and a first-place Blue Jays team. It's starting to feel like 2015 all over again.

The Blue Jays are sitting alone atop the standings in the American League East for the first time since April 4 following a 9-1 victory over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

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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.

Sanchez could return to rotation for playoffs

Sanchez could return to rotation for playoffs

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez's role continues to be a hot topic in Toronto, and manager John Gibbons once again addressed the young starter prior to Saturday's 9-1 win over the Orioles.

Sanchez will pass his career-high innings threshold after his start on Sunday against Baltimore, and although no set date has been placed, is expected to shift to the bullpen for the stretch run of the season.

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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, Travis lengthen Blue Jays' lineup

Pillar, Travis lengthen Blue Jays' lineup

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' big bats have stayed consistent throughout the team's torrid month of July, but the production from the bottom part of the order has also been instrumental in Toronto's climb atop the American League East.

Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis recorded two hits apiece and drove in five runs in the Blue Jays' 9-1 rout of the Orioles on Saturday at Rogers Centre. Toronto increased its Major League-leading run total to 252 since June 11, and a large part of that has been the ability of the bottom of the lineup to set the table.

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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.

Sanchez, Blue Jays go for sweep of O's

Sanchez, Blue Jays go for sweep of O's

After a pair of emotional games in a playoff-type atmosphere, the Orioles and Blue Jays wrap up their series at 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays won Saturday's contest to take over the American League East lead by one-half game.

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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.

Reid-Foley, Alford among top prospect performers Saturday

Braves' first-rounder continues scoreless streak to begin career; Brewers' No. 1 hits three-run homer

Reid-Foley, Alford among top prospect performers Saturday

The Braves have to be pleased with the early return on Ian Anderson.

Selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Anderson fired four more scoreless innings on Saturday for the Braves' Gulf Coast League affiliate, giving him 15 straight scoreless innings to begin his professional career. The Braves' No. 5 prospect allowed just two hits and established a new career best by striking out six hitters.

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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.

Blue Jays knocking on door after edging O's

Blue Jays knocking on door after edging O's

TORONTO -- The battle for first place in the American League East is officially on after Toronto pulled within a half-game of the Orioles on Friday night. The Blue Jays inched even closer to the top spot in the division after a 6-5 victory over Baltimore at Rogers Centre.

Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki all homered, and the Blue Jays are now closer to first place than they have been at any point since the second game of the regular season.

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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.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

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

New-look bullpen trio seals deal in opener

New-look bullpen trio seals deal in opener

TORONTO -- So far, so good for the Blue Jays' new-look bullpen.

Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna tossed the final three innings to secure a 6-5 victory over the Orioles on Friday night at Rogers Centre. Grilli did surrender a solo homer to Manny Machado, but outside of that one blip everything else went according to plan as Toronto moved within a half-game of the first-place O's.

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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.

Trio of 1st-inning jacks sets tone for Blue Jays

Trio of 1st-inning jacks sets tone for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- It was a clash of two heavyweight offenses on Friday night at Rogers Centre, and while it wasn't a knockout punch, the Blue Jays' big bats made a first-inning statement in an eventual 6-5 victory.

Trailing, 2-0, after a Mark Trumbo two-run double in the top of the first, three of the Blue Jays' first five batters hit long home runs in the home half of the frame.

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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.

Bautista hosts annual golf event for charity

Bautista hosts annual golf event for charity

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista did not have to drop out of school to pursue a career in baseball, and he wants to make sure some amateur athletes are afforded that same luxury.

Bautista grew up with a middle-class family in the Dominican Republic. His mother was an accountant, his father ran poultry farms and, regardless of Bautista's ambitions to play professional sports, it was never allowed to take away from his education.

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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 sign veteran Kratz to Minors deal

Blue Jays sign veteran Kratz to Minors deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays brought back a familiar face this week, signing catcher Erik Kratz to a Minor League deal on Thursday.

The acquisition provides the team with some additional depth down the stretch. The 36-year-old is a veteran of seven Major League seasons and will likely join the Blue Jays as a callup in September.

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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.

Harris among top prospect performers Friday

Cubs prospect hits first grand slam in four-hit effort; Rockies infielder hits timely homer

Harris among top prospect performers Friday

Another day, another monstrous offensive performance for Eloy Jimenez.

The Cubs' No. 3 prospect was at it again on Friday night as he delivered the first grand slam of his career as well as a pair of doubles in what was his third four-hit game of the season. Jimenez ultimately fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle, finishing 4-for-5 with four runs scored and four RBIs to power Class A South Bend past Lake County, 11-7.

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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.

Urena, Reid-Foley crack Top 100 Prospects list

Urena, Reid-Foley crack Top 100 Prospects list

TORONTO -- The future is starting to look brighter for shortstop Richard Urena and right-hander Sean Reid-Foley -- both Blue Jays prospects have cracked MLBPipeline.com's midseason Top 100 Prospects list.

Urena and Reid-Foley were not ranked in the top 100 prior to Spring Training, but they have since landed a spot on the list. Urena is Toronto's top-ranked prospect at No. 91, while Reid-Foley is close behind at 93.

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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.

On short rest, Dickey struggles to curb homers

Knuckleballer switched with Estrada in rotation

On short rest, Dickey struggles to curb homers

TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey has hit another bump in the road, and once again, it's because of his tendency to give up a lot of home runs.

Dickey has allowed more home runs than anyone else in baseball since the start of 2013, and he surrendered two more in Wednesday's 8-4 loss to the Padres. He has surrendered 26 home runs in 22 starts this season, which is tied for most in the Major Leagues.

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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 hope Benoit can transform bullpen

Reliever fans 2, walks 2 in scoreless Toronto debut

Blue Jays hope Benoit can transform bullpen

TORONTO -- The transformation of Toronto's bullpen continued late Tuesday night, when the Blue Jays officially dealt right-hander Drew Storen and cash considerations to the Mariners for reliever Joaquin Benoit.

Benoit joined his new ballclub the following morning after he boarded a 7 a.m. flight from Pittsburgh. He tossed a scoreless ninth inning during Toronto's 8-4 loss to the Padres, and he struck out two but also issued a pair of walks.

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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.

NHL '17 lets you celebrate with Bautista's bat flip

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NHL '17 lets you celebrate with Bautista's bat flip

Befitting the first celebration to most likely exit Earth's orbit, Jose Bautista's titanic bat flip during Game 5 of last year's ALDS has received all manner of tribute: in ink, in Photoshop, on a (cereal) box, with a fox -- OK, fine, maybe not that last one.

Still, as the 2016 postseason looms on the horizon, the Bat Flip Heard 'Round the World was missing something. Something that would secure its place in the culture for all time. Something that would allow us to put the bat flip in our own hands. Something ... Canadian. Luckily, EA Sports is on the case.

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Pillar's strong day not enough in finale loss

Pillar's strong day not enough in finale loss

TORONTO -- The Padres avoided a three-game sweep in their first series north of the border, and it should come as no surprise that home runs were the main reason why.

Adam Rosales, Brett Wallace and Alex Dickerson each went deep in San Diego's 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Christian Bethancourt added a Little League home run after he doubled in the fourth but was able to keep running thanks to a pair of Toronto errors on the play.

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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.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

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

Urena among top prospect performers Thursday

Rockies catcher continues torrid month; Yankees' first-round pick hitting .429 at Pulaski

Urena among top prospect performers Thursday

Tom Murphy is likely hoping July never ends considering the Rockies' No. 11 prospect has raised his batting average over 100 points in 16 games so far this month.

Murphy went 3-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored in Triple-A Albuquerque's 8-3 win over Salt Lake.

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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.

Alford, Urena among top prospect performers Wednesday

Pair of Blue Jays prospects combine to propel Dunedin to 10-9 win

Alford, Urena among top prospect performers Wednesday

A pair of Blue Jays' prospects led the way in a slugfest for Class A Advanced Dunedin on Wednesday.

Anthony Alford (Blue Jays' No. 3) and Richard Urena (Blue Jays' No. 1No. 91 overall) combined for six hits, five RBIs and four runs in Dunedin's 10-9 win over Lakeland.

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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.

Great Wild North: Travis takes off, stuns SD!

Great Wild North: Travis takes off, stuns SD!

TORONTO -- Just when it appeared as though the Blue Jays were down and out, their offense brought them all the way back in the most unconventional way.

Toronto scored three runs in the bottom of the 12th inning, including the winning run on a wild pitch, to earn a 7-6, come-from-behind victory over the Padres on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

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.

Travis' 14-pitch at-bat sparks 12th-inning win

2nd baseman walks, later scores decisive run on wild pitch for walk-off victory

Travis' 14-pitch at-bat sparks 12th-inning win

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' come-from-behind victory on Tuesday evening was fueled by an unlikely hero in a game that looked out of reach when the bottom of the 12th inning rolled around.

With runners on second and third with one out in the inning and Toronto trailing by two runs, Devon Travis' at-bat was the game-defining moment, lifting the Blue Jays to an improbable 7-6 victory in the late hours of the evening.

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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 acquire Upton Jr. from Padres

Veteran outfielder has enjoyed productive season with San Diego

Blue Jays acquire Upton Jr. from Padres

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays made their first big move of 2016 by acquiring veteran Melvin Upton Jr. from the Padres on Tuesday morning.

Toronto picked up the versatile outfielder in exchange for Class A pitching prospect Hansel Rodriguez, who was the Blue Jays' No. 18 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

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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.

Busy Blue Jays add Benoit in deal for Storen

Busy Blue Jays add Benoit in deal for Storen

TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins completed his second trade in less than 24 hours on Tuesday night by acquiring right-hander Joaquin Benoit from the Mariners for fellow reliever Drew Storen.

Seattle also will receive cash considerations as part of the deal. The trade was officially announced on the same day that the Blue Jays acquired veteran outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. from the Padres for pitching prospect Hansel Rodriguez.

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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 shifting attention to pitching

After acquiring Upton Jr., Benoit, Toronto expected to continue search for arms before Deadline

Blue Jays shifting attention to pitching

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays upgraded their lineup and added to the bullpen, but the search for more pitching is expected to continue for the rest of this week.

Toronto completed a pair of deals on Tuesday. The first saw the Blue Jays acquire veteran outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and cash considerations from the Padres for pitching prospect Hansel Rodriguez. The second involved Toronto sending reliever Drew Storen and cash to the Mariners for right-hander Joaquin Benoit.

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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.

Greene among top prospect performers Tuesday

Rays' No. 13 prospect knocks in career-high five runs, Reds' No. 18 scores winning run and hits for cycle

Greene among top prospect performers Tuesday

Justin Williams tied his career high for homers in a season and set a career high for RBIs in a game. Not bad for a day's work.

Williams, the Rays' No. 13 prospect, went 3-for-4 with five RBIs Tuesday as he led Double-A Montgomery to a 10-5 win over Pensacola.

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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.

Sanchez, Blue Jays take down Padres up north

Sanchez, Blue Jays take down Padres up north

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez will not be moving to the bullpen without a fight. At least that's what his continued dominance on the mound would suggest.

Sanchez struck out seven and tossed seven scoreless innings in the Blue Jays' 4-2 victory over the Padres on Monday night at Rogers Centre, San Diego's first ever game in Toronto. He scattered three hits and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all but one of his 10 starts since the beginning of June.

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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.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

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

Dominant Sanchez wins 10th straight decision

Righty inches closer to career high in innings for season

Dominant Sanchez wins 10th straight decision

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays don't know exactly when they'll be shifting Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen, but they know exactly what they're getting every time he makes a start.

Sanchez recorded his American League-leading 16th quality start on Monday evening against the Padres, throwing seven scoreless innings in Toronto's 4-2 victory.

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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 activate Bautista off DL

Toronto designates outfielder Lake for assignment

Blue Jays activate Bautista off DL

TORONTO -- The biggest addition for the Blue Jays prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline likely came in the form of Jose Bautista's return to the lineup on Monday night.

Bautista was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday night's 4-2 victory over the Padres. He played all nine innings in right field and went 1-for-3 with a walk after having been out since the middle of June with turf toe on his left foot.

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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.