Blue Jays make mince meat of Bronx Bombers in resounding rout

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The night began with the odds of the Blue Jays making the playoffs pegged at 4.8%.

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Well before the night’s first pitch was thrown, beleaguered GM Ross Atkins held court lamenting how his hand-picked lineup has been so offensively challenged.

“I just expected us to score more runs,’’ he said. “I think everyone in the building did and we need to find out why that didn’t happen.”

When the actual game began, all was well with the Blue Jays, who looked like world-beaters against the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who came into their four-game series looking more like the Blue Jays.

“Ten days ago, we were feeling like there was positive momentum and that has gone away,’’ said Atkins, whose team at the time was one game under .500.

“The fact that we are in this position squarely lies with me and I’m accountable for that,” said Atkins. “All of our energy and focus is on improvement and getting better with the group that is here.”

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Good on Atkins for coming clean, but this mess of a season requires the kind of work an organization cannot properly address in the short term.

“We recognize that we don’t have much time left,” he added.

Following Thursday’s 9-2 win, the Jays improved to 37-44 on the season, while the Bronx Bombers dropped to 52-30 having lost nine of their past 11 games, including four in a row.

Against Yankees starter Carlos Rodon, the Blue Jays exploded for five runs in the first inning.

Three more would cross home plate in the second inning as the Jays built an 8-0 advantage.

Besieged veteran George Springer went deep on back-to-back at-bats, each belt a three-run blow as Springer recorded his first multi-homer game of the season.

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Taking into account Toronto’s visit in Boston, Springer has gone deep in three of his past two games.

Perhaps he’s back, but as always only time will tell.

In his third at-bat Thursday, Springer stroked a single up the middle.

Remember, he had a three-hit game at Fenway Park in a 9-4 Jays win.

It’s way too premature to say the Blue Jays are poised to make some kind of run, but it didn’t hurt when 10 hits were recorded by the time Daulton Varsho entered the box in the home half of the fifth inning with runners at first and second.

Varsho struck out in his first game back from a back setback he suffered in Cleveland in his final at-bat Sunday at Progressive Field.

“We believe in these hitters,’’ said Atkins during his availability. “We believe in these players.”

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A realist would say he has no other choice knowing, after all, it was Atkins who orchestrated this roster construction.

Despite ongoing rumours, the latest involving Houston being interested in Vladimir Guerrero Jr., no trade appears to be on the horizon.

Speaking of Vlad Jr., it’s interesting to note how he changed his stance on playing for the Yankees when he spoke with a well-heeled media outlet during the Jays’ stay in Boston at a time when Toronto was scuffling and about to play host to the same Yankees.

Those believing it was a mere coincidence are asked to think again.

The trade deadline kicks in on July 30.

“We have not received many or a significant number of calls asking for our players that are on short contracts,’’ added Atkins.

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“It’s more downloading where we are from a strategy standpoint.”

He must have enjoyed what he saw in the series opener against the Yankees, as did the announced crowd of 36,423 on Salsa Night.

Following the Yankees’ four-game stay, the Astros will be in town for a four-game set before the Jays hit the road for a nine-game trip out West.

The Jays started Jose Berrios on Thursday.

One of his very few mistakes was a pitch Berrios made to Trent Grisham, New York’s No. 9 hitter who went deep for a two-run homer.

Vlad Jr. got one of those runs back when he belted a solo home run in the home half of the sixth inning.

It was Vlad Jr.’s 11th home run of the season and third in his past four games as he continues to rake.

Offence was not an issue on this night.

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And to be fair, the Jays’ bats have been much better of late, in part due to Vlad Jr.’s power surge.

While rain suspended play in the top of the second inning in Boston on Wednesday night, the fact remains the Jays have put together a two-game win streak.

A two-game win streak does not inspire much confidence, but it beats the alternative of losing.

In the past two games, the Jays scored a combined 18 runs.

During that wretched seven-game losing streak, the Jays combined to score 24 runs.

Berrios did pitch well Thursday, which is always a good sign.

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He went seven innings, an outing that included two hits surrendered, two runs yielded, three walks and eight strikeouts recorded.

Suffice to say, Berrios was good.

Needless to say, the Blue Jays were equally good.

As for Atkins, he can say all he wants and his words will always be interpreted and misinterpreted by some, but actions speak much louder than words.

The white flag to this season hasn’t officially been erected, but time is running out, even when a win as dominant as Thursday gets produced.

Everyone expects the Jays to be sellers.

At the same time, no one is quite sure when that time will arrive.

As always, stay tuned.

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