Bichette and Jansen star as Blue Jays crush woeful White Sox

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Another lineup shuffle was another hit for the Blue Jays, who beat the Chicago White Sox 9-3 on a beautiful Victoria Day afternoon.

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Shifting Davis Schneider to leadoff has been beneficial and manager John Schneider gave Danny Jansen his first career start batting second. The catcher delivered, and then some. Jansen homered, doubled, singled, drove in four and raised his average to .333. Shortstop Bo Bichette hit three doubles (he had six all season coming in) and went 4-4 to back a solid Jose Berrios, while Daulton Varsho homered to erase an early White Sox lead.

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Chicago got on the board in the second inning with a couple of singles and a stolen base. It could have been a lot worse, since the ChiSox collected four singles in the inning but only plated one run. The frame ended in bizarre fashion, when Korey Lee was thrown out at the plate trying to steal home after Jansen tried to throw out a runner attempting to steal second. Davis Schneider cut off the throw and fired it home to nail Lee.

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The Jays responded with a leadoff double by Bichette, followed by Varsho’s eighth home run of the season, a big hit considering Chicago starter Erick Fedde had nearly worked himself out of trouble by getting two outs. Toronto was at it again an inning later, when Kevin Kiermaier flashed his still elite speed by somehow turning a ground ball into a double. The centre fielder then tagged up to get to third on a fly ball to left field and scored to make it 3-1 on Jansen’s two-base hit. Jansen then scored on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. double.

Berrios battled, but gave up a home run to one-time Jay Paul DeJong in the seventh and then a walk and was pulled. But Yimi Garcia, Toronto’s best reliever so far this season, picked up Berrios with a couple of strikeouts to end the inning. Berrios finished with a line of six innings, eight hits allowed, three earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts to improve to 5-3. Jansen’s homer, his fifth, in the bottom of the seventh, gave Toronto some breathing room.

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As bad as Chicago has been, starter Fedde has been a bright spot. He was 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA (11th in the American League) coming in. But he didn’t have his best stuff in this one, surrendering five earned runs in his six innings with only two strikeouts.


Blue Jays manager Schneider was asked pre-game if his last-place team was aiming to run off series win after series win to get back into the race, but said things are more urgent than that for his club. “Literally trying to win today,” Schneider said, saying the Jays are on a game-by-game basis right now and aiming not to look past what’s right in front of them.

If the Jays were to zoom out though, they’d see a lot of minnows on the upcoming schedule. Sunday was the first of four against MLB-worst Chicago, with three more against the Sox to follow after a four-game set in Detroit (the Tigers entered Sunday .500). If the Jays don’t take advantage, they’ll need to steal some games from elite squads like Baltimore Milwaukee, Cleveland and New York in June when the schedule turns into a bear.

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Not many teams in baseball start all three outfielders way down their order, but that’s where the Jays find themselves these days. George Springer has been dropped to sixth, Varsho hit seventh for the 10th time in 25 appearances, while Kiermaier is pretty much a fixture in the nine-hole. Good teams tend to get a lot more offence out of their outfielders, but it was noted at least pre-game by media to Schneider that at least the group was “as good as it gets” amongst MLB outfield trios at preventing runs at the other end. And while Springer booted a catch attempt early, Varsho and Kiermaier had typically excellent defensive outings, Springer ranged to his left to end the eighth with a nice catch and Kiermaier ended the game with a spectacular diving catch.

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Plus as a bonus, they also delivered with their bats. Varsho smoked his homer and leads the team in that category, Kiermaier was a thorn in Chicago’s side all afternoon and Springer hit a sharp single in the eighth.


Both Chad Green and Bowden Francis will throw for AAA Buffalo on Wednesday and the hope is both will be able to rejoin Toronto soon after, per Schneider … Garcia has stranded all 10 runners he’s inherited this season, per Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy … Bichette was confident he’d break out of his season-opening slump and has been hot over his last 10 games. Over that stretch he’s hit .368.



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