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Blue Jays hear boos from home crowd after blowout loss to Rangers

Alejandro Kirk Toronto Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays aren't happy about getting blown out in three critical games either.

Fans booed the Blue Jays off the field after a lacklustre 10-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. Toronto has lost the first three games of the four-game series by a combined score of 26-7, dealing the Blue Jays' post-season hopes a serious blow.

"They expect us to win, and that's fair. I think everybody understands that," outfielder George Springer told reporters in a sombre Toronto clubhouse. "There's nobody that wants to win more than us in this locker room.

"I don't think it's for lack of effort. I know that the guys in here are trying. We're doing our best but it may not seem that way because of the result, but at the end of the day, (the booing) is understandable."

The loss put the Blue Jays (80-66) a full game behind the Seattle Mariners for the third and final wild-card spot in the American League. Seattle had a two-run fifth inning to edge the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 earlier Wednesday.

Before visiting Rogers Centre, the Rangers were the odd team out, but their three wins in Toronto have put them in the second wild-card spot.

"We all know that this is a big series and so we're all disappointed," said starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi through translator Yusuke Oshima. "All we can do is just flip the page. Tomorrow's a new day."

Kikuchi (9-6) pitched five innings, giving up six runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Bowden Francis, Jordan Hicks, Genesis Cabrera, and Chad Green came out of Toronto's bullpen.

Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver smashed three-run homers while Robbie Grossman had a two-run homer as Texas (81-64) won its fifth-straight game. Jonah Heim and Evan Carter added RBI singles.

The Blue Jays pitching staff entered Wednesday's game with a combined 3.73 earned-run average, mere percentage points behind Seattle (3.73) for best in Major League Baseball.

Toronto manager John Schneider said his pitchers have lacked their usual edge against the Rangers.

"You've got to get ahead and you've got to put people away," said Schneider. "It's a tough lineup. They're not budging, they're not chasing, and you can see exactly what they can do to a staff and a bullpen when they're swinging at good pitches and doing damage with guys on."

Jordan Montgomery (9-11) was solid for Texas, striking out three and giving up four hits and a walk over seven innings. Relievers Martin Perez and Ian Kennedy preserved his shutout.

Blue Jays all-star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., finally got a hit in the first inning after starting the pivotal series 0 for 8 at the plate with four strikeouts. Even then, his first hit of the series was a little lucky.

Guerrero bounced the ball to Montgomery, who misplayed it, and then Rangers shortstop Corey Seager dropped the ball, allowing the Toronto first baseman to reach base.

Heim got Texas on the board in the fourth. Seager led off with a walk, and Grossman followed that up with a single. After a Garver popout, Heim singled to score Seager from second.

Lowe then cleared the bases in the next at bat, crushing a three-run homer 420 feet for a 4-0 Rangers' lead. His 16th home run of the season came on an 89.3 m.p.h. slider from Kikuchi with a 106.4 m.p.h. exit velocity.

Grossman tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning with a moon shot of his own. He looped an 83.9 m.p.h. curveball to deep left field for his 10th of the season. That homer scored Seager to make it 6-0.

Texas didn't let up in the sixth, with Carter's single giving Lowe ample time to run home. Josh Smith got caught in a run down between second and third, saving Toronto from an even longer inning.

As Guerrero flied out to end the sixth — dropping him to 1 for 9 in the series — some of the 25,495 fans at Rogers Centre started to boo.

Those jeers grew louder in the ninth when Garver launched a 95.2 m.p.h. four-seam fastball from Green to deep centre, cashing in Carter and Grossman for a double-digit lead.

"Not great, but I understand," said Schneider of the boos. "The fans want to see exciting, winning, baseball.

"Us, as competitors, players, staff, myself, everyone included, don't like to hear it, but at the same time we appreciate when they're voicing their frustration when it is deserved."

CHAPPED — Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman participated in hitting, running and infield drills for the second day in a row. Chapman has been on the injured list since Aug. 28 with an inflamed right middle finger.

ON DECK — Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman (11-8) will start for Toronto as it closes out its four-game series with Texas.

Nathan Eovaldi (11-4) will take the mound for the Rangers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.