TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays are also not happy about being eliminated in three critical games.

Fans booed the Blue Jays off the field after a lackluster 10-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. Toronto has lost the first three games of the four-game series by a combined score of 26-7, dealing a blow to the Blue Jays’ postseason hopes.

“They expect us to win and that’s fair. I think everyone understands that,” outfielder George Springer told reporters in a sombre Toronto clubhouse. “There is no one who wants to win more than us in this locker room.

“I don’t think it’s for lack of effort. I know the kids here are trying. “We are doing the best we can but it may not seem like it because of the result, but at the end of the day, (the booing) is understandable.”

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The loss put the Blue Jays (80-66) one game behind the Seattle Mariners for the American League’s third and final wild card. Seattle had a two-run fifth inning to edge the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 earlier Wednesday.

Before visiting Rogers Centre, the Rangers were the odd team out, but their three wins in Toronto put them in the second wild card spot.

“We all know this is an important series and that’s why we’re all disappointed,” starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi said through translator Yusuke Oshima. “All we can do is just turn the page. Tomorrow is a new day”.

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Kikuchi (9-6) pitched five innings, allowing six runs on five hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Bowden Francis, Jordan Hicks, Génesis Cabrera and Chad Green came out of the Toronto bullpen.

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Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver hit three-run homers, while Robbie Grossman hit a two-run homer as Texas (81-64) won its fifth straight game. Jonah Heim and Evan Carter added RBI singles.

The Blue Jays pitching staff entered Wednesday’s game with a combined earned run average of 3.73, just percentage points behind Seattle (3.73) for best in Major League Baseball.

Toronto manager John Schneider said his pitchers have lacked their usual edge against the Rangers.

“You have to move forward and you have to lock people up,” Schneider said. “It’s a difficult lineup. They’re not moving, they’re not chasing, and you can see exactly what they can do to the staff and the bullpen when they make good pitches and do damage with guys around.”

Jordan Montgomery (9-11) was solid for Texas, striking out three and allowing four hits and one walk in seven innings. Relievers Martín Pérez and Ian Kennedy preserved their shutout.

Blue Jays star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally got a hit in the first inning after starting the pivotal 0-for-8 series at the plate with four strikeouts. Even then, his first success in the series was a bit lucky.

Guerrero threw the ball to Montgomery, who misplayed it, and then Rangers shortstop Corey Seager dropped the ball, allowing the Toronto first baseman to reach base.

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Heim put Texas on the board in the fourth. Seager led off with a walk and Grossman followed with a single. After Garver flied out, Heim singled to score Seager from second.

Lowe then cleared the bases in the next at-bat, hitting a three-run home run 420 feet to put the Rangers up 4-0. His 16th home run of the season came on an 89.3 mph slider from Kikuchi with an exit velocity of 106.4 mph.

Grossman scored two more runs in the fifth inning with his own moonshot. He launched an 83.9 mph curveball to deep left field for his 10th of the season. That home run scored Seager to make the score 6-0.

Texas didn’t give up in the sixth, with Carter’s single giving Lowe enough time to run home. Josh Smith was caught in a run between second and third, saving Toronto from an even longer inning.

When Guerrero hit a fly ball to end the sixth, leaving him 1 for 9 in the series, some of the 25,495 fans at Rogers Center began booing.

Those taunts grew louder in the ninth when Garver launched a 95.2 mph four-seam fastball from Green to deep center, tapping Carter and Grossman for a double-digit lead.

“It’s not cool, but I understand it,” Schneider said of the boos. “Fans want to see exciting, winning baseball.

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“We, as competitors, players, staff, myself, everyone included, don’t like to hear it, but at the same time we appreciate it when they express their frustration when it’s deserved.”

CHAPPED – Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman participated in hitting, running and infield drills for the second straight day. Chapman has been on the disabled list since Aug. 28 with a swollen right middle finger.

ON COVER – Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman (11-8) will start for Toronto as it closes its four-game series with Texas.

Nathan Eovaldi (11-4) will take the mound for the Rangers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.

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