By ROBERT MACLEOD
Monday, June 10, 2019
TORONTO -- Another game, another season high - or is that low? - for the Toronto Blue Jays.
This team can't get out of town fast enough to try to regroup. Oh wait, the Blue Jays went 0-6 on their last trip. Never mind.
The beat(down) goes on for this sad-sack American League team, which was trounced by the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-2 at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon, giving the National League visitors a convincing three-game sweep.
Rebuilds can be trying times for any sports outfit. But a majorleague-low .218 team batting average has to be regarded as cruel and unusual punishment.
The Diamondbacks (34-32) may have the ugliest set of uniforms in pro sports, but their performance was almost picture perfect against the Blue Jays (2342), who lost their fourth consecutive game and 10th in their past 12.
The Diamondbacks erupted for all eight of their runs in the third inning, the most runs the Blue Jays have surrendered in one inning all season.
Apparently traumatized by that occurrence, the Blue Jays went the next four-plus innings without a hit before Danny Jansen collected his second hit of the day, a single in the seventh.
The Blue Jays will try to regroup away from the unfriendly confines of Rogers Centre, where their record tumbled to 12-22, with a six-game trip starting on Tuesday with the first of three in Baltimore against the Orioles.
Toronto had seven hits on Sunday. Along with Jansen, left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also had a couple of raps, including a home run in the first inning that moved Toronto in front 1-0.
The lead increased to 2-0 when Jansen added a run-scoring single in the second inning.
Gurriel continues to be one of the few sparks in the Toronto batting order. Since returning from his Triple-A sojourn 15 games ago, the left fielder is hitting .327 with five home runs, a triple and five doubles.
But things went haywire for Toronto in the Arizona third when the Diamondbacks put the big squeeze on Blue Jays starter Clayton Richard, crushing him for seven runs.
The barrage began with a solo home run by Ketel Marte, his 15th of the season.
A single and two walks later, the bases were loaded for Kevin Cron, who responded with a sharp single to left that carded two more runs and put the Diamondbacks ahead for good at 3-2.
After a Jarrod Dyson single, Tim Locastro spotted one just inside the bag at third for a bases-loaded triple and a 6-2 Arizona lead.
That spelled the end for Richard, who was tagged for seven runs off seven hits over 22/3 innings. Of his 70 pitches, 43 came in that ill-fated third.
Richard has failed to get out of the fourth inning in all four of his starts this season.
He was replaced on the mound by Thomas Pannone, who allowed a two-run home run by Carson Kelly on his first pitch that would conclude the scoring barrage.
It was a nice margin for Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray, who struck out out 10 over 62/3 innings while allowing just five hits.
Jansen said in spite of Toronto's chronic losing, the mood in the clubhouse remained upbeat.
"It's a tough game up here," he said.
"I was taught you kind of learn to hit up here as well. But we're a team that's going to keep battling, no matter what the standings show, the record shows.
"We're going to keep enjoying the game, we're going to keep fighting and give everybody everything we got."
Lately, that hasn't been all that much.
On Saturday, the Blue Jays lost 6-0 to Arizona. Coupled with Sunday's result, it marked the sixth time in Toronto's past eight games the team has scored two or fewer runs.
The team's record has dipped to 19 games below .500, a depth the franchise has not approached since they fell 20 games below .500 on Aug. 23, 2002.
That season, the Blue Jays finished 78-84 with a team that featured pitching ace Roy Halladay.
Pete Walker, the current Blue Jays pitching coach, was also a member of that starting staff.
Clayton Richard, starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, adjusts his cap as he plays against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Rogers Centre.
DAN HAMILTON/USA TODAY SPORTS