MLB

Guardians chase Gausman in 5th inning, hand Blue Jays 2nd straight series defeat

Canadian Josh Naylor had two singles and drove in a run as the Cleveland Guardians captured a 7-2 win in the rubber match against the hometown Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Canada's Josh Naylor had 2 of Cleveland's 13 hits, drove in a run

Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman saw his season record slip to 8-9 on Sunday as he lasted only 4 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts in a 7-2 loss to the visiting Guardians. (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had an opportunity to extend his career-high hit streak to 23 games in the seventh inning Sunday.

The Toronto Blue Jays slugger came to the plate for his fourth and final at-bat with runners on first and second with two out and the home side trailing the Cleveland Guardians by three runs.

But Guerrero bounced out to third to go 0-for-4 in the rubber match of the three-game series that saw Toronto drop a 7-2 decision before 41,002 spectators at Rogers Centre.

"That's a matchup we wanted, with him being the tying run," Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said. "It just didn't go our way."

The Guardians (61-53) were victorious for the sixth time in seven games while the Blue Jays (61-52) have won just twice in eight outings.

Guerrero was frustrated when he didn't swing on a 93.5 mile-an-hour, four-seam fastball from Cleveland starter Shane Bieber (8-6) to make the count 1-2. The next pitch, a slider, ended the inning.

"That's the old adage of baseball; get a good pitch and don't miss it," Schneider said.

Despite the 22-game hit streak, Guerrero has gone a dismal 5-for-26 (.192) in his last six games. In addition, he hasn't homered in seven contests.

'We have faced a lot of good pitching lately'

"My heart was in my throat," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Out of respect for what Vladdy can do, I was nervous.

"Biebs did a terrific job."

Cleveland's starting pitching held the Blue Jays to just four runs in the three-game series as the Guardians outscored Toronto 16-4.

Toronto starter Kevin Gausman (8-9) lasted 4 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts on 98 pitches.

"They did a good job running up my pitch count," Gausman said. "We have faced a lot of good pitching lately."

The Guardians scored a run in the first, second and fourth innings and two more in the fifth to end Gausman's day.

Shortstop Amed Rosario hit a solo homer in the first. Catcher Austin Hedges singled in a run in the second and doubled in another in the fourth.

Josh Naylor, of Mississauga, Ont., knocked in a run in the fifth with a single to right field. He's now 8-for-27 (.296) with two doubles, a homer and five runs-batted in over six career games in Toronto.

Owen Miller doubled in Cleveland's fifth run later in the inning.

Cavan Biggio was in right field for Toronto and made a fantastic sliding catch, crashing into the side wall on Myles Straw in the sixth. But he misplayed doubles to Hedges in the fourth and Miller's second of the game in the fifth.

The Guardians touched reliever Trent Thornton for two runs in the ninth, thanks to RBI singles from Rosario and Jose Ramirez. The two-run inning ended a streak of 13 run-less innings for the Toronto bullpen in the series.

The Blue Jays tied the game in the first on a Teoscar Hernandez double and added a run in the fifth on a Guerrero groundout to short.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim has covered the hockey landscape and other sports in Canada for three decades for The Canadian Press, CBC Sports, the Globe and Mail and Toronto Sun. He has been to three Winter Olympics, 11 Stanley Cups, a world championship as well as 17 world junior championships, 13 Memorial Cups and 13 University Cups. The native of Waterloo, Ont., always has his eye out for an underdog story.

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