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Jays sit atop AL East on Victoria Day

Jays sit atop AL East on Victoria Day

TORONTO -- For Canadians, the Victoria Day weekend is a sure sign that summer is on its way. Spring is over, and the Blue Jays remain atop the American League East.

Right-hander Scott Richmond, who will take on the White Sox on the holiday Monday at Rogers Centre, feels the Jays are clicking so well that they can keep winning even when the pitchers or the hitters have a tough night.

"[On Saturday] we didn't score until the eighth inning," Richmond said. "It took us eight innings to get two runs and we still ended up winning the game because our pitching did well. It's just working out so nicely like that. If our starters give up four or five or six, we're scoring six, seven or eight. Things are balancing themselves out really nicely."

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The Jays' offense couldn't make up for a poor outing by Richmond in his last start, though. On Wednesday, he had trouble locating his fastball and gave up five runs to the Yankees in the second inning before being pulled with two outs in the frame. It was his first poor start in what has otherwise been a strong start for the 29-year-old rookie, who was named the American League's Rookie of the Month for April.

"I had a blip on the radar," Richmond said. "I'm not worried about it. It's just release point.

"Some days you're just not going to have your best stuff, plain and simple. Some days you're going to get away with it and the other days you're not."

Richmond added that pitchers have to deal with the reality that they will often struggle with one of their pitches, as was the case with his fastball on Wednesday.

"Starters don't usually go out there with all four of their best pitches," Richmond said. "They go out there with a couple of good ones, and then they work on another one, and they see what's working that day and then go from there. Every day it's like, 'What's really working well for me today?' Then you stick with that."

Richmond's coaches and teammates have also been helpful.

"Everybody picked me up," Richmond said, "tapped me on the [rear] after my bad outing and said, 'Don't worry about it. You're doing great for us this year.'

"You don't have to be perfect every time, especially with a young staff. They're not looking for you to go out there and do what Doc [Halladay] does. They're looking for you to go out there and keep the team in it."

Pitching matchup
TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (4-2, 4.28 ERA)
Richmond gave up five runs to the Yankees, all in the second inning, on Wednesday at Rogers Centre. He lasted only 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and two walks on his way to his second loss of the season. Five of the hits he gave up were for extra bases, including a home run and two triples. He struck out two batters -- the first two he faced in the top of the first. Of the 58 pitches he threw, 31 were strikes. It was the second game in a row Richmond has given up five runs in the second inning. He has never faced the White Sox.

CWS: LHP Clayton Richard (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
Richard did not exactly dominate last time out against the Indians at Progressive Field, but he certainly did well enough to earn another start in manager Ozzie Guillen's mind. Richard allowed four runs on six hits over 3 1/3 innings, with Guillen trying to stretch the southpaw a little beyond his limit, at 79 pitches, in order to get him ready for his next trip to the mound. Richard struck out two and walked three. He gave up two runs in three innings of relief earlier this season against the Blue Jays and has a 0-1 record lifetime against the Blue Jays. Richard has never pitched at Rogers Centre.

Bird feed
With his victory on Sunday, Roy Halladay is now the second pitcher in club history to win eight of his first nine starts. Roger Clemens was the first. ... Robert Ray gave up one unearned run in Saturday's game against the White Sox, joining teammate Brett Cecil as the only two rookies in the Majors to pitch eight innings without giving up an earned run, according to the Elias Sport Bureau. ... On Saturday, Casey Janssen (right shoulder) pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings in a rehab start for Double-A New Hampshire. ... Rod Barajas is batting .360 with three home runs and 19 RBIs over his past 21 games.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SNET

On radio
• FAN 590

Up next
• Tuesday: Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 2-1, 4.68) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 4-2, 4.03), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 2-0, 1.80) at Red Sox (TBD), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Blue Jays (Robert Ray, 1-1, 3.60) at Red Sox (Jon Lester, 2-4, 6.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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