Triple-A help not the fix the Blue Jays had hoped for against Guardians

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The Blue Jays went down to triple-A Buffalo looking for a little help at the major-league level in their series opener with Cleveland, but didn’t get the desired results.

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Back up from the minors after a rehab period was right-hander Yariel Rodriguez to start the game.

The Cuban righty was up earlier in the year and made four starts without recording a win before he was forced to shut things down due to thoracic spine inflammation.

Despite a five-walk outing in his final rehab appearance, the Jays — having lost three in a row — were in a bit of a desperate situation for a fifth starter and made the call.

The result was a short night for Rodriguez, a long and potentially costly night for the Jays bullpen and a fourth consecutive defeat in a 7-1 loss to the Guardians.

A bat-around second inning was all it took for the Guardians. It began with a 12-pitch at bat for Mississauga native Josh Naylor, whose tailing liner towards left saw Davis Schneider and centre fielder Dalton Varsho both make an attempt on the ball before pulling up simultaneously to let the ball drop between them for a double.

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Rodriguez, who retired the Guardians in order in the bottom of the first, was not the same pitcher after that Naylor at-bat.

He walked the next three hitters to force in a run. After getting No. 8 hitter Brayan Rocchio to go down swinging, he gave up a two-run double to light-hitting and lightly used catcher Austin Hedges.

Hedges came into the game hitting just .123 with five hits in 57 at bats, but he jumped on a hanging curve ball that stayed up in the zone and lined it towards third.

Jays third baseman Addison Barger made a leaping play on the ball just getting a glove on it before it rocketed into the left field corner for the two-run double. Had he left the ball, there was a good chance it would have landed foul, but you can’t blame the young infielder for being aggressive.

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That was the end of Rodriguez’s night after just an inning and a third.

The hope was his return would solve the Jays’ issue of a fifth starter and while it still might, the early results don’t bode well for that.

Rodriguez was charged with five runs (four earned) on two hits and those three walks.

Bowden Francis would give up two more in the inning before getting out of it after the Guardians had sent 13 men to the plate and scored a team-high seven runs in the inning.

Give Francis credit though for hanging in and gutting out three more innings for the Jays to at least save the bullpen a little for the rest of the series.

Francis even got the game into the sixth without allowing any more damage past that seven-run second inning.

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Toronto’s lone run of the game came off starter and winner Carlos Carrasco when he gave up a solo shot to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the fourth inning. It was Vladdy’s eighth of the season.

Carrasco improved to 3-6 with the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and just that one run while striking out seven.

Cleveland had just five hits in the game but between Rodriguez and Francis they turned five walks in that second inning into that seven-run frame and certainly didn’t need more than that.

Naylor had two of the Guardians five hits and two RBIs.

Toronto’s bats were equally quiet with just six hits while striking out 10 times in the game.

Toronto did threaten in the ninth loading the bases with just one out before lefty reliever Sam Hentges came in to get George Springer to bounce into a game-ending double play as Jose Ramirez stabbed a hot shot to third that eventually.

Welcome Orelvis

The game marked the major-league debut for Jays’ 22-year-old infielder Orelvis Martinez who was called up when the shortstop Bo Bichette landed on the injured list with a calf strain.

Martinez was on the bench for the previous two games but got the start at second in the opener of the Cleveland series.

It was an eventful night for the young Jays prospect as he got his first hit — a single in the sixth — and was charged with his first error as he failed to cleanly come up with an Andres Gimenez shot in that second inning.

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