Blue Jays lack offensive flair against Giants despite strong Jackson start

Brandon Crawford hit a solo home run in the sixth to break the tie as the San Francisco Giants beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.

SAN FRANCISCO – In some ways, Wednesday’s game went according to plan for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Edwin Jackson provided five solid innings in his season debut and Brandon Drury scored three runs after Charlie Montoyo batted him leadoff on a hunch. The rain even held off all afternoon.

But the offensive fireworks that made Tuesday so memorable were nowhere to be found, so the Blue Jays lost 4-3 to the Giants and fell to 17-25 on the season. Realistically the two-homer game by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., was going to be tough to top, and this one didn’t come close.

To be fair, Jackson did his part and made some history along the way. Pitching for his MLB-record 14th team, the 35-year-old right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings while walking one and striking out two. His fastball topped out at 95.4 m.p.h. though it was more often in the 91-92 m.p.h. range.

While the Blue Jays didn’t get the result they wanted, setting the record meant something to Jackson, who broke a tie with Octavio Dotel.

“It says I have a lot of perseverance,” he said. “I’m not one to give in. I feel like out of those 14 teams, some of those teams have been situations that would probably make people want to go home and quit and cry. For me, the tougher it gets, the harder I work to prove that I can get outs in the major-leagues.”

After a late start to the season and a trade from Oakland to Toronto, Jackson’s looking forward to some consistency in the weeks ahead. If the Blue Jays keep getting this kind of performance from him, they’ll be happy.

“He did a great job,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He minimized damage when he got in trouble. He started a little bit shaky and then he was very good. He gave us a chance. We were in the game. That’s all you can ask.”

Their rotation certainly needs stability at a time that four starters are on the injured list. One of them, Clayton Richard, could make his Blue Jays debut as soon as Saturday, but that’s by no means guaranteed.

Though the Blue Jays didn’t support Jackson with much offence, Drury did his part from the leadoff spot, reaching on a single, a walk and an error and scoring all three times.

While Guerrero Jr., drove in one of those runs with a groundout, he finished the afternoon 0-for-3 with a walk. To his credit, he hit a ball to centre at 107.1 m.p.h. in his second trip to the plate only to see former teammate Kevin Pillar catch it.

A four-strikeout day added to the early-season frustration for Teoscar Hernandez, who’s now hitting .189/.262/.299 in 2019. While the Blue Jays have seen consistent quality contact from Hernandez at times, those results are undeniably disappointing for a player who hit 22 homers with a .770 OPS last year.

“He hasn’t looked good lately,” Montoyo said. “I was hoping he’d come out of it.”

The opposite-field home run Hernandez hit against the White Sox Friday hinted at a potential offensive turnaround, but that hasn’t been the case for the 26-year-old, who’s now striking out in 33 per cent of his at-bats.

“For sure his confidence is down,” Montoyo said. “Everybody can tell by looking at him. Guillermo (Martinez, the hitting coach) has been working hard with him and we’re hoping he gets out of it but he just can’t get it going.”

Now, the Blue Jays head to Chicago for a rematch against the White Sox, hopeful that more offence will soon arrive to help a pitching staff in need of help.

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