George Springer's dinger welcome relief as Blue Jays end ugly seven-game losing streak

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The poster boy, at least on the field, for the Jays’ season-long futility has been George Springer, hands down the lightning rod for all the venom frustrated fans of the ballclub have unleashed.

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The numbers haven’t been good and neither has the former World Series MVP when he steps up to the plate.

Springer’s defence has never wavered and neither has his work ethic, attributes that get lost amid so many losses.

His plight at the plate has been so pronounced that even pitches that should have been called a ball were deemed strikes, leading to mounting frustration and growing cries for Springer to be benched.

Manager John Schneider has been patient — many would argue too patient — with the veteran outfielder.

All that patience paid off Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series in Boston, a 9-4 win at Fenway Park that snapped a seven-game slide.

When Springer went deep off Red Sox starter Brayon Bello, it came in a seven-run third inning that gave the visitors a 7-2 advantage. It was Springer’s sixth long ball of the season and first home run since June 4. He would add two singles to give him his second three-hit game of the season.

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The way Kevin Gausman was pitching, the Jays needed to resort to some extreme level of mediocrity to blow this game.

The Red Sox railed 9-2 when they took their swings in the home half of the fourth inning.

At Fenway, history has shown no lead is safe, but safe to say the Blue Jays did not replicate Monday’s meltdown in earning their first win over Boston in five games, a victory that gives Toronto a shot of earning a series win in Wednesday’s rubber match.

The win also snapped a seven-game losing streak that featured back-to-back series losses to the Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians.

Gausman gave up a leadoff walk in the fourth. A one-out error by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., his second on the night, put runners at first and second.

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Gausman would record the third out by throwing a 97 mph four-seam fastball to produce his third strikeout of the game. He gave up two deep hits on two pitches in the sixth, including a 448-foot rocket launched by Canadian Tyler O’Neill as a seven-run lead was reduced to five.

It was O’Neill’s fourth long ball in five games versus the Jays.

BO’S BACK

To the surprise of no one, Bo Bichette was reinstated from the 10-day injured list after suffering a calf setback when the Cleveland Guardians were at Rogers Centre for a three-game series.

In his return, Bichette batted leadoff, striking out on three pitches in his first at-bat. In his second, Bichette had a runner at third with none out after Toronto plated two runs to tie the game.

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Bello issued his second walk in a row and faced a bases-loaded situation with Vlad Jr. at the plate.

Bello fell behind 3-1 in the count and paid dearly when his pitch caught far too much of the plate, allowing Vlad Jr. to turn on it and drive it deep into centre field that went to the wall for a two-run double.

In his return, Bichette went 0-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts. Playing his normal position at shortstop, Bichette looked fine in the limited opportunities he was asked to make.

FOUR SCORE

Back in late April when Kevin Kiermaier went on the IL (hip flexor inflammation), it allowed the Blue Jays to call up Addison Barger.

The Jays were in Kansas City and decided to throw the kid right into the deep end by starting Barger in left field, a position he had never played.

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In his MLB debut, he misplayed a ball.

Fast forward to Monday when Barger, who started at third base, completely lost track of a routine pop up, one of a handful of late-game miscues that added up to a devastating loss.

Tuesday, the Blue Jays had Barger in left field.

It marked his fourth start in left and first at Fenway.

Miscommunication has been an issue.

Kiermaier took charge of the outfield and ran to his right to secure a fly ball to record the first out in the home half of the first.

At the plate, Barger hit a sharp liner down the first-base line for an unassisted double play to end the second inning, the second double play in as many innings for the Blue Jays.

Barger’s first play in the outfield came on a softly hit fly ball he easily handled to record the first out in the fourth inning.

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Davis Schneider, who started in left field Monday, came into the game as a defensive replacement for Barger in the seventh inning.

BRIEFLY

Vlad Jr’s four-RBI night gave him nine in his past three games, a stretch that has seen him record seven hits, including five for extra bases … In his first plate appearance, Spencer Horwitz reached base when hit by a pitch; in the 13 games Horwitz has started this season, he has found a way to reach base in each game … Springer struck out in his first at-bat, the 53rd time he has struck out this season and the ninth time in his past six games; he more than made amends in his second at-bat … One night after Vlad Jr. went deep to produce his longest belt (471 feet) of his career, Rafael Devers recorded his career-longest (467 feet) when he took Gausman deep to give Boston a 1-0 lead; the next hitter, O’Neill, hit a fly ball into right field; for some reason, Vlad Jr. wanted to play the ball by backpedalling rather than defer to Springer, who was coming in on the ball; the game’s charitable scorer awarded O’Neill a triple; it was later correctly changed to an error charged to Vlad Jr. … Bichette’s reinstatement resulted in the Blue Jays sending Steward Berroa back to triple-A.

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