TORONTO — Yet another loss by the Toronto Blue Jays has their manager disappointed and at a loss for excuses.
The Blue Jays dropped nine of their first 15 games after losing 7-0 Wednesday to the Chicago White Sox, a result that manager John Gibbons found disheartening.
“We haven’t really put it together yet, it’s frustrating,” said Gibbons. “The guys are trying. It’s one of those things, you’ve just go to fight through it. You can’t say it’s early anymore, really.”
Catcher Tyler Flowers hit a three-run home run in the second inning and Jose Quintana pitched 6 2-3 innings to earn his first win of the season as the White Sox (7-8) won their second in a row over the Blue Jays (6-9) after winning the opener of the four-game series Monday.
Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ (2-1) allowed six hits, including two home runs, and five runs in 5 2-3 innings to take his first loss in three starts and end a string of four consecutive quality starts by the Blue Jays in front of a crowd of 15,684 at Rogers Centre.
Injuries have been a problem for the Blue Jays who will try for a series split Thursday.
They played their third game in a row without right-fielder Jose Bautista, who has a sore back and is listed as day-to-day. Shortstop Jose Reyes is out for about three months with a severely sprained ankle.
“They’re two of our top players,” Gibbons said. “Reyes has been gone a while but (Munenori) Kawasaki (who had two hits on Wednesday) has done a heck of a job taking his place, he really has. And Jose anchors the middle of the lineup and with him missing that’s a big bat.”
Former Blue Jay Alex Rios also homered as Quintana (1-0) held Toronto to five hits and two walks while striking out seven in his third start of the season.
“Tonight they just basically kicked our ass all the way around,” Gibbons said. “(Quintana) was really good. We were chasing that ball up, a lot of popups. They came right at Happ and the big blow was that home run early. We were never in it. We were overmatched tonight both sides.”
Chicago took a 3-0 lead with two out in the second when Flowers hit his third homer of the season on a 2-1 fastball that he drove to right centre. It followed a two-out double by Dayan Viciedo and a walk to Alexei Ramirez.
“The offence was great, Tyler (Flowers) coming through like that, I think it was big for him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “When you hit a home run like that, that’s a big relief because you know you’re helping out.”
Happ said he felt good during his outing, but that his pitch to Flowers just hung over too much of the plate.
“I felt I was making pitches, making several in a row and they’d make you pay. So it’s frustrating in that sense to put us down early. It’s tough as you saw,” he said.
“Obviously those guys (Bautista and Reyes) are a huge part of our lineup. It changes our lineup quite a bit. But I wasn’t thinking about it. I was trying to go out and execute. It just wasn’t happening.”
The White Sox went ahead 4-0 in the fourth on doubles by Paul Konerko and Ramirez.
Konerko extended his hit streak to nine games with a leadoff double to right. Davis had his glove on the ball but could not hold it as he ran into the wall.
Happ struck out Adam Dunn and Viciedo before Ramirez drove a double to left centre.
The Blue Jays had another threat when Kawasaki walked with two out in the fifth after fouling off five pitches with a 3-2 count and took third on a double by Davis. But Cabrera grounded out to end the inning.
Rios led off the sixth with his fifth homer of the season, hitting a 1-1 slider against the facing of the second deck in left centre. Viciedo’s two-out single chased Happ and brought in right-hander Ramon Ortiz.
Ortiz ended the sixth but gave up two runs in the seventh. Flowers, Tyler Greene and Alejandro De Aza singled and Jeff Keppinger hit a sacrifice fly. Rios walked to reload the bases and Konerko hit a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Toronto right-hander R.A. Dickey (1-2, 5.82 earned-run average) will try for his second win in a row Thursday in the finale of the four-game series when he faces left-hander Chris Sale (1-1, 5.21 ERA).