TORONTO — Ryan Goins isn’t a fan of the Blue Jays wearing red jerseys.
Toronto made a collective team decision to opt for their more traditional white jerseys on Sunday and it led to a 7-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“When you’re 2-7 in the red jersey, you just bang it,” Goins joked of the red uniform, which has been worn every Sunday this season to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary.
“We should probably shred ’em, burn ’em, I don’t know, give ’em away to charity. They need to go.”
The Blue Jays infielder drove in a pair during the first inning in the win over Pittsburgh. Goins has a team-high .348 average (23 for 66) with runners in scoring position and has 40 runners in scoring position RBIs this season, tying him with Justin Smoak for the team lead.
“Some guys bear down more. That could be it,” said manager John Gibbons, who won his 700th game with the Blue Jays. “Maybe he expands a little bit more when there’s no one on base, looks like he uses the opposite side of the field a bit more with guys in scoring position. That’s what I see.”
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run home run while starter J.A. Happ threw six innings of one-run ball for the Blue Jays (56-61). Toronto has won four of six on the current 10-game home stand and nine of its last 13 at home overall.
Happ (6-8) struggled in the first allowing a run on three hits, but settled down to allow just one hit over the following five innings for his third straight win.
“Happ was really good, I thought he was a little bit off early in the game and then he found that groove,” said Gibbons. “He’s been on a nice roll ever since he came back from the elbow issues. He basically lives with the fastball, which is very hard to do, when he’s getting some good hitters out, that’ll tell you he’s locating it where he wants.”
Danny Barnes, Leonel Campos, Ryan Tepera and J.P. Howell combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief.
Chad Kuhl (5-8) allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits in the loss. The Pirates right-hander struck out six and walked five in the loss. The Pirates (58-60) have dropped three of their last five.
With one on the first, Donaldson put Kuhl’s fastball into the second deck in left for his 15th home run of the season.
Toronto took a 5-1 lead on a double steal by Kevin Pillar and Goins, which saw the Blue Jays shortstop plate.
Darwin Barney and Smoak each added solo home runs to give Toronto a 7-1 cushion.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the top half of the first on an RBI single from David Freese.
“I think (Happ) was able to pitch to a liberal strike zone,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “We were challenged at times. I’d come back up and look and think ‘Man, that’s hard to cover that much territory at the plate.’ He was able to maintain those areas, stay in those areas.”
Notes: Prior to Sunday’s game, the Blue Jays recalled LHP Matt Dermody and placed RHP Dominic Leone on the bereavement List. â€¦ RHP Nick Tepesch (0-2, 9.00 ERA) gets a second turn in the rotation when the Blue Jays open a four-game series against RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-5, 4.38 ERA) and the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.