TORONTO — Danny Jansen scored three runs and Kevin Gausman earned his 10th win of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Washington Nationals 6-3 on Monday at Rogers Centre.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a two-run double in Toronto’s four-run second inning and Jansen added a solo homer in the third.
Eight of the nine Toronto starters had at least one hit as the Blue Jays won for the second time in six games.
Jordan Hicks worked the ninth inning for his 12th save.
Toronto (72-60) entered play 2 1/2 games off the pace in the American League wild-card race. The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers started the day in a virtual tie for the last two spots.
CJ Abrams singled off Gausman’s first pitch of the night and promptly stole second. He came across on a single by Joey Meneses.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the bottom half after two walks and an infield single but Daulton Varsho — the lone Toronto starter without a hit — flew out to end the threat.
Washington starter Josiah Gray (7-11) issued two more free passes in the second inning and this time the Blue Jays took advantage.
George Springer singled home Jansen from second base and Guerrero lashed a ball off the wall in right-centre field to plate two more runs. Davis Schneider added an RBI single to make it 4-1.
Left-hander Robert Garcia came on in the third and gave up a no-doubt solo shot to Jansen. It was his 16th home run of the year.
Gausman (10-8), meanwhile, settled in after a 26-pitch opening frame. He fanned Dominic Smith to lead off the fourth inning for his 200th strikeout of the season.
The Nationals halved the lead in the fifth on a two-run double by Meneses. Kevin Kiermaier helped Toronto answer in the bottom half with an RBI single that scored Jansen.
Trevor Richards pitched two clean innings of relief for Toronto. Blue Jays southpaw Genesis Cabrera needed nine pitches to retire the side in the eighth.
Gausman finished with seven strikeouts. He issued two walks and allowed seven hits and three earned runs.
Announced attendance was 27,940 and the game took two hours 51 minutes to play.
It was the first time the Nationals (61-71) have played at Rogers Centre since 2018.
WHO’S ON THIRD?
With Matt Chapman placed on the 10-day injured list Monday, Schneider got the start at third base in the opener of the three-game series.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said the rookie is one of many backup options at the hot corner along with Guerrero, Whit Merrifield, Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio.
Also Monday, Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on his sore right quadriceps. His absence left the skipper with a new-look left side of the infield.
“It’s going to be grimy, it’s going to be dirty, it’s going to be hard,” he said of the positional adjustments. “It’s going to be different than what we’re used to (after) running out the same guys for basically five months.
“You’ve got to look at it as an opportunity for guys to step up.”
triple-A call-up Ernie Clement, who could also fill in at third base if needed, started at shortstop.
DREW DROP IN
The Nationals transferred right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. (shoulder) to the 60-day injured list and selected the contract of catcher Drew Millas from triple-A Rochester.
Millas made his big-league debut with a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning. The 25-year-old switch-hitter grounded out.
Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios (9-9, 3.55 earned-run average) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Nationals left-hander MacKenzie Gore (6-10, 4.38).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2023.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press