Blue Jays haven't shaken off Odor's punch yet

Bob Elliott

Canadian Baseball Network

Most everyone saw Rougned Odor punch Jose Bautista in the jaw Sunday afternoon,

The Blue Jays escaped the mean streets of Arlington, Tex. returning to the friendly coffers of Rogers Centre.

And for the second night in succession the Jays played as if the whole team -- not just Bautista -- had been  punched in the face while in Texas.

Did Odor’s right cross also land squarely on the solar plexus of the Jays psyche?

Doubtful, but consider how lefty J.A. Happ 2.0 has his first bad outing in eight starts this season as the Tampa Bay Rays scored a season-high total in runs, thumping the Jays 13-2 on Monday night.

And Tuesday Marcus Stroman had his worst outing in 33 career starts with the Jays as the Rays won 12-2 before 27,321.

The Jays dropped their fourth straight to fall to three games below .500. They have now allowed 12 or runs in back-to-back games for the first time in five years since June 11-12, 2011 when the Boston Red Sox pounded  Brandon Morrow 16-4 and Kyle Drabek 14-1.

A year ago they were five games under following a loss to the Los Angeles Angels in their 41st game. See nothing to worry about .... yeah right.     

By the time bench coach DeMarlo Hale came to hook Stroman after his 102nd pitch, with two out in the sixth, the Jays opening day starter had allowed career highs in runs allowed (seven) and hits (13). Hale was filling in for manager John Gibbons, wearing the suspenders for the first of three games,  

Stroman had allowed five earned runs on three previous occasions: twice in 2014 in 3 2/3 innings on July 9 in an 8-7 loss to the Angels in his eighth career start and in five innings in an 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Aug. 22 in his 15th start. Last month he was touched for five in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox.  

JOSE, JOSE: Bautista’s two-run shot off Archer was his 29th career homer against the Rays since 2010. Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis has 22 and Edwin Encarnacion had 19.

“It’s been a tough couple of nights,” Bautista told reporters. “Pretty ugly, so it might augment the situation a little bit more than it should because it hasn’t been pretty. But it’s two days. You have to continue moving forward with that mentality. Try to flush it out of our system, get a win tomorrow, go out on the road and have a good trip.” 

The Jays play a four-game series at Target Field in Minneapolis and then on to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for three games.

“The only thing that is different that last year is the amount of strikeouts,” said Bautista about the Jays hitting woes. “We have to grind out at-bats.”

The Jays whiffed 10 times going hitless in four at-bats with men in scoring position. And on Monday they struck out seven times going 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position. 

NOT SO MUCH A SHOW: Stroman needed only five pitches to get the first two outs and the Rays only needed five to take a 1-0 lead on Evan Longoria’s single and a Steve Pearce double.

After Bautista hit a two-run homer in the home half, the Rays took a 4-2 lead in a 16-pitch span thanks to a Logan Morrison single, a Kevin Kiermaier double, a Brandon Guyer single and a Brad Miller triple.

Singles by Pearce and Steven Souza along with a ground ball made it 5-2 in the third.

Stroman had a scoreless fourth before opening the fifth by walking Pearce, then one out later allowing a Corey Dickerson double followed by singles to Morrison and Kiermaier. He left with two men on base so on the night Stroman faced 31 batters retiring 17 men, as 13 reached on hits and two walked. He benefitted from a double play.

IN GAME: Taylor Motter hit a two-run homer off Drew Storen in the ninth. It was Motter’s first homer in the majors -- Allan Sherman’s Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh was not playing as he circled the bases. Storen’s ERA is 8.36. Storen has allowed four homers along with 13 runs in 14 innings ... A scary, scary sight came in the eighth as newly acquired Jimmy Paredes, pinch hitting for Bautista, lined a 1-0 pitch off the jaw of Rays reliever Ryan Webb. Webb was OK after being examined and threw a double play ball to erase Edwin Encarnacion ... Reliever Pat Venditte deserved a better fate in the seventh.

With two out Kiermaier reached on a topped roller which hugged the line. Then, third baseman Josh Donaldson was charged with errors on back-to-back plays before Miller doubled into the right field corner. It was Donaldson’s second and third errors of the season making all three runs unearned ... Chris Archer pitched six innings allowing four hits: the Bautista homer and an Encarnacion double and singles to Russell Martin and an infield hit to Troy Tulowitzki ... Justin Smoak stole a base hit from Dickerson in the second inning.  

CH-CHANGES: The Jays made two roster changes with Paredes, a waiver claim, in uniform, while and switch-pitcher Venditte was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

Headed down the QEW were infielder Andy Burns and reliever Dustin Antolin.

Paredes, 27, was claimed on waivers Monday, after starting 87 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season (79 at DH). He also played second base and third, as well as right field and left.  

Last year he hit .275 with 17 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 42 RBIs, with a .726 OPS. He is a career .257 hitter with 15 home runs and 81 RBIs in 249 career games.  

This season at class-A Frederick, double-A Bowie and triple-A Norfolk he hit .309 with two homers and nine RBIs in 19 games.

Venditte made five appearances for the Jays earlier this season, giving up three runs in 3 2/3 innings, He had a 3.86 ERA in 9 1/3 innings at Buffalo. 

Antolin allowed three runs in two innings in Monday’s lopsided 13-2 loss to the Rays.