TORONTO—When Mark Buehrle won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, he constantly felt like no matter the deficit they’d win the game. The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays are similar, only with a super-sized offence.
“Here, shoot, if we don’t score eight runs, we had a bad day,” Buehrle said after a 9-2 win against the Detroit Tigers yesterday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
“We’re confident. We’re coming to the field every day thinking we’re going to win.”
The Blue Jays have reason to feel that way. After sweeping the Tigers, they’re 21-5 in August and lead the American League East by 1 1/2 games over the New York Yankees.
Toronto provided everything that has become commonplace since a flurry of pre-trade-deadline moves: an offensive onslaught, strong pitching and reliable defence in front of a sellout crowd.
Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar each hit a two-run home run, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion each had a solo shot, and the Blue Jays added to their major-league best run production.
“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is,” Martin said. “I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defence, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now.”
It’s hard not to like what the Blue Jays have going.
They’ve been dominant in the month since acquiring shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, ace David Price, outfielder Ben Revere and relievers La Troy Hawkins and Mark Lowe.
Confidence is at an all-time high, something manager John Gibbons credits those trades for.
“With the trades: Tulowitzki, Price, Hawkins, Lowe, Revere, (infielder Cliff) Pennington, we just took off after they happened,” Gibbons said. “I don’t know how it could but the addition of those guys that has pushed us to this point. It gave everybody a shot in the arm.”
While Tulowitzki has struggled at the plate, his defence remains a major upgrade over Jose Reyes.
Tulowitzki doubled yesterday after Gibbons moved him down from the leadoff spot to fifth in the order. Revere went 0 for 4 with a walk in the No. 1 hole, but that didn’t stunt the Blue Jays’ production at all.
In a lineup that has become a modern-day murderer’s row, Encarnacion continued his torrid hitting by going 2 for 3 with his 30th home run of the season.
He extended his hitting streak to 25 games and is three short of Shawn Green’s franchise record set in 1999.
Encarnacion is hitting .409 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in that time.
His first-inning home run gave him 35 RBIs in August, setting a Blue Jays record for any month, and he has an extra-base hit in eight straight games.
Pitching with a lead almost all afternoon, Buehrle (14-6) cruised through six-plus innings, allowing one earned run on five hits. The lefty didn’t feel well but gutted through another solid start.
The Blue Jays have scored 718 runs, the most in the majors.
In other American League action yesterday, the Rays stung the Royals 3-2; the Twins beat the Astros 7-5; the Indians clipped the Angels’ wings 9-2; the White Sox scuttled the Mariners 6-5; and the Rangers wiped out the Orioles 6-0.