Baseball

Jays drop 6th straight, bullpen allows 8 runs

A seventh-inning collapse by the bullpen was the story of the Toronto Blue Jays' sixth loss in a row, 10-2 to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

A seventh-inning collapse by the bullpen was the story of the Toronto Blue Jays' sixth loss in a row, 10-2 to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Jays starter Scott Richmond gave up first-inning home runs to Kelly Johnson and Brian McCann. But the right-hander recovered nicely, settling down to retire 12 of the final 15 batters he faced.

The Jays manufactured a couple of runs, in the fourth and sixth innings, taking advantage of two hits by Vernon Wells and two stolen bases.

But after reliever Jesse Carlson pitched a scoreless sixth, the wheels came off for Toronto's bullpen.

Shawn Camp was tagged with the loss after allowing the Braves to load the bases in the seventh inning. The Jays hoped Jason Frasor could get them out of the inning, but he gave up a two-run double to Johnson and a three-run homer to McCann, his second round-tripper of the game.

The Braves scored seven runs on five hits in the inning.

Toronto had an opportunity to take the lead in the top half of the inning. But with the bases loaded and one out, both Lyle Overbay and Alex Rios failed to cash in any runs.

On the bright side, Wells snapped out of his 0-for-11 funk, giving the Jays' offence some life.

"You're going to go through periods like this," Wells said. "Hopefully, we'll right the ship and get back at it tomorrow."

The club's hold on first place in the American League East has evaporated as the Jays fell half a game back of Boston thanks to a Red Sox victory over the Mets.

"We're OK," said Toronto manager Cito Gaston. "We're still ... just a half-game out."

The losing streak is Toronto's longest skid since dropping seven straight last June, which led to the firing of manager John Gibbons.

The Jays opened their nine-game road swing by being swept in Boston and Atlanta. It's the first time they've been swept in back-to-back series since May 2007.

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