Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar

Hutchison leads Jays to sweep of Cubs

It’s all about numbers for the Toronto Blue Jays these days. Good and bad. Their hopes of reaching baseball’s post-season are alive mathematically by the thinnest of margins. Right-hander Drew Hutchison, however, led the way on Wednesday when he equalled his career best with 10 strikeouts in an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

TORONTO _ It’s all about numbers for the Toronto Blue Jays these days. Good and bad.

Their hopes of reaching baseball’s post-season are alive mathematically by the thinnest of margins.

Right-hander Drew Hutchison, however, led the way on Wednesday when he equalled his career best with 10 strikeouts in an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

It was the fourth win in a row for the Blue Jays (76-69) and the sixth straight loss for the Cubs (64-82). In the three-game series sweep Toronto outscored Chicago 28-3.

It was the third solid start for the Blue Jays in the series. Rookie right-hander Marcus Stroman pitched his first career shutout in an 8-0 win on Monday and left-hander Mark Buehrle held the Cubs to two runs over seven innings in the 9-2 win on Tuesday.

“They’ve really picked it up, too,’’ manager John Gibbons said. “Even coming into the season, that was really the question mark of the team, how was the rotation going to hold up. Of course, Brandon Morrow went down but those other guys have been steady for pretty much the whole year. We added a guy here and there to make a spot start to give them a little breather but they’re pitching a lot better than I expected if you want to know the truth.

“That’s important. What they do is most of them give you a shot every time out there. When we’re pitching good, we’re capable of scoring a lot of runs every night, and when we play good defence, we win.’’

Hutchison (10-11) allowed four hits and one run, on a homer by Jorge Soler, over 6 1/3 innings. His other 10 strikeout game was July 1 against the Milwaukee Brewers, also at Rogers Centre.

“My command has been good,” Hutchison said. “I’ve been commanding the baseball with all three of my pitches. My slider has been good to both sides of the plate lately. I think that’s been a big reason why I’ve pitched well and my fastball command has been (good). Try to continue to throw the way I am now and give us a chance every time I go out.’’

The 24-year-old held the Cubs to two doubles and a walk in the first six innings. But in the seventh, Soler hit his fourth homer of the season with one out for the Cubs. Welington Castillo followed with a double and kept going to third on an error by centre fielder Anthony Gose.

Left-hander Brett Cecil replaced Hutchison and finished the inning with a strikeout and a fly out.

“It’s been going well lately,’’ Hutchison said. “I felt like I pitched six really good innings and maybe the wait there hurt a little bit coming out for the seventh.

But that’s always a good thing when you wait that long. Falling behind those guys was frustrating but overall I thought it was a good outing.’’

The Blue Jays added five runs in the home seventh inning against Cubs relievers Wesley Wright and Kyuji Fujikawa. Edwin Encarnacion and Dioner Navarro each had two-run singles in the inning and Danny Valencia drove in the other run with a single to give him his second RBI on the game.

Dalton Pompey, of Mississauga, Ont., had his first big-league RBI in the two-run eighth when he grounded out as a pinch-hitter.

“I was nervous, I’m not going to lie,’’ said Pompey who was called up for September from triple-A Buffalo. “My arm was shaking before I went up to bat and I just had to collect myself, take a deep breath and try to stick with my approach, it was hard. Even the first pitch, I didn’t really see it. Just had to collect myself, try to put the ball in play and good things happen.’’

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (6-2) allowed six hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings for his first loss since July 27.

“We got into a little trouble there and weren’t able to dig ourselves out,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “They kept chipping away, they kept swinging the bats, they kept doing things to keep their offence going, they kept the line moving. They took advantage of miscues. Kyle probably deserved a better fate.’’

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Most Read