TORONTO — Devon Travis knew exactly who to thank for his success on Wednesday night.
The Blue Jays rookie second baseman had three hits, including the go-ahead two-run homer, as Toronto topped the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.
Travis missed the first game of the series with sore ribs after being hit by a pitch in the Blue Jays’ 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday and made sure to thank Toronto’s training staff for getting him healthy enough to play.
"George Poulis, Mike Frostad, I gotta thank them first and foremost," said Travis. "We’ve ran through treatment after treatment after treatment over these past 72 hours. I definitely owe them all the credit for tonight.
"I wouldn’t be in there if it wasn’t for them."
Just 14 games into his Major League career, Travis leads the Blue Jays with a .388 average and 14 runs batted in. His four home runs are tied with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion for the most on Toronto.
Travis showed no ill effects in his fielding on Wednesday night either, combining with shortstop Jose Reyes and first baseman Justin Smoak on two double plays.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons praised Travis’s approach at the plate and said his compact swing helps with his consistency.
"He’s got that short stroke, y’know? He’s a line drive guy," said Gibbons. "His timing’s going to be more consistent than most guys with the bigger swings. He’ll get out of whack every now and then like anybody else, but we haven’t seen it yet.
"A simpler approach, a simpler swing, a shorter swing, that usually causes less problems."
The five-foot-nine Travis points to his conservative game plan, staying patient at the plate and taking advantage of his smaller strike zone.
"It’s not even at-bat to at-bat, it’s pitch to pitch, just trying to make adjustments," said Travis. "I just stick to my plan for the most part and just try to get a good pitch to hit."
Smoak hit his first home run of the season for Toronto (8-7), while starter Aaron Sanchez (1-2) earned the win. He struck out four but walked seven, allowing two hits and two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Rookie Miguel Castro earned his third save of the season.
Shortstop Jimmy Paredes led Baltimore (7-8) with a home run and two RBIs. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1) struck out six over five innings, giving up six hits including two home runs and four earned runs.
Bautista sat out the game with a strained right shoulder that he injured throwing from right field to first base in Tuesday’s 13-6 win over Baltimore. He was not expected to play in Thursday’s series finale either.
Travis’s third hit of the night was a two-run shot to centre field, giving the Blue Jays a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. Jose Reyes started the inning with a single, then Travis brought him home on a splitter from Jimenez.
Roberto Osuna came in to relieve Sanchez after the starter put runners on first and second with walks in the sixth inning. Osuna gave up a single, but then ended the inning by inducing a pop fly to shallow left and striking out Caleb Joseph to keep the score 4-2.
Sanchez struggled with control all night, including sailing a pitch over Joseph’s head in the third inning. His next two pitches were also well wide of the plate, leading to a walk.
"I had to battle tonight," said Sanchez. "The walks obviously I’m not happy about but I made pitches when I needed to make pitches and I stayed in there as long as I could."
Paredes lofted a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall in the third inning, driving home Joseph for a 2-0 Baltimore lead.
Smoak tied it 2-2 in the fourth inning when he hit a two-run home run, plating Encarnacion. The ball barely made it over the left-field wall, bouncing off the top of the fence.