Thursday 26th April, 2018
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Blue Jays host cold Royals

Sports Xchange - Monday 16th April, 2018

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays needed 26 games last season before they won for the ninth time.

This season, the ninth win came in their 14th game Friday night when they overcame a 4-0 disadvantage to defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-4.

"We know we can come back," said outfielder Steve Pearce, who hit a two-run double Friday. "We've got a lot of good hitters on this team and the pitchers are doing a great job of (keeping the team in it)."

The news is not so good for the Kansas City Royals, who lost 5-3 to the Los Angeles Angels Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium to extend their losing streak to five.

The Royals are 3-10, their worst start over 13 games since 2012 when they also were limited to three wins.

"They continue to battle," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "As long as they continue to push and battle, they're going to get through it and they know it. It's evident with the way they're competing every single day, at least to my eyes."

Both teams will be coming off postponements when they meet Monday at the Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays will start left-hander Jaime Garcia (1-0, 3.18 ERA) Monday after their games Saturday and Sunday at Progressive Field were postponed because of rain. Garcia was scheduled to start Saturday, then Sunday, so the rotation will stay the same, meaning the staff will be well rested.

The Royals will start left-hander Eric Skoglund, who was scheduled to start Sunday against the Angels, but the game was postponed because of cold weather.

The Royals have had a feast-or-famine start to the season. All three of their wins have been shutouts, but in the 10 losses they have been outscored 59-27.

"I still feel like this team is going to get it together and we're going to get on a little bit of a run," Yost said.

Help should be arriving soon. Catcher Salvador Perez has been sent to Double-A Northwest Arkansas Saturday on a rehabilitation assignment. He went on the disabled list March 29 with a Grade 2 MCL tear in a left knee, which was incurred while carrying his luggage from spring training up stairs at his home.

"Probably won't be that long," Yost said. "I know he's anxious to get back."

Skoglund will be making his second start of the season Monday. He took the loss when the Royals lost 8-3 to the Seattle Mariners Tuesday, allowing five runs, six hits and two walks while striking out three in 4 2/3 innings.

This will be his first career outing against Toronto.

It was his first game competition in 24 days after his two previous attempts were either cancelled or postponed because of inclement weather.

Garcia, who will make his third start of the season for the Blue Jays, is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.

His second start was April 8 at Texas when he recorded his first win for Toronto, allowing three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays put third baseman Josh Donaldson (right shoulder inflammation) and designated hitter Kendrys Morales (hamstring) on the disabled list last week.

Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo Friday when Donaldson went on the DL and had two doubles and two RBIs, including what turned out to be the game-winning hit in the seventh inning.

Right fielder Randal Grichuk continues to struggle at the plate.

He is batting .071 (3-for-42) with one home run but continues to play. He has one hit, three walks and 14 strikeouts in his past 37 plate appearances.

"We believe in him," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I think he's close. I mean, he's just missing some balls for whatever reason. We'll let it run out and I think one solid game might set him off in the right direction."

Grichuk hit 24 homers in 2016 and 22 in 2017, both seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

"He's done it before, it's not like he hasn't hit at this level and never had any success," Gibbons said. "When he gets on, he can do some things because he can run. And we've been looking for some of that around here. But, you know, he's a human being and naturally he's pressing hard."

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