Sam Gaviglio was left searching for the silver lining after another loss.
The Toronto Blue Jays starter felt he did a better job of getting ahead of hitters on Saturday, but his reeling squad fell 3-1 against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rogers Centre.
Gaviglio (2-5) allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander has not won since May 25. In 14 starts since, he is 0-5 while the team is 5-9 during that span.
“It makes it easier pitching and on Russ (Martin) when you are getting ahead and also you’ve got to be able to put guys away when you are ahead,” said Gaviglio. “I thought we did a better job of that today and moving forward that’s something I need to keep doing.”
Despite the improvements, Martin feels Gaviglio can be better.
“He was around the zone the whole day today. Did a good job,” said Martin. “I still feel like he could do a better job of getting ahead of hitters, but he wasn’t giving in, he was making pitches all the way through counts. Even if he did fall behind, he was still trying to make his pitches.”
The Rays (60-57) have now won three straight and four of five while improving to 7-1 against the Blue Jays this season.
The Jays (52-64) have just one win in their last six games.
As the Blue Jays dropped to a season-low 12 games under .500, they also got bad news on the injury front. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte left the game in the second inning with a right oblique injury after an awkward swing on Ryne Stanek’s 2-2 pitch. The team announced Solarte would undergo further tests while Richard Urena replaced him at third base.
“I’m sure it will be (a DL situation), it’s an oblique,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “We’ll have to get somebody else up here. It won’t be (Josh) Donaldson yet.”
The triple-A Buffalo Bisons took out catcher Danny Jansen during their game on Saturday night, leading to speculation he could be called up for the first time. He is batting .275 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs this season.
On Saturday, Tampa’s Diego Castillo (3-2) allowed one hit while striking out two and walking one over 2 2/3 innings of relief for the win. Sergio Romo pitched a clean ninth inning for his 15th save of the season.
Mallex Smith got Tampa on the board in the first, leading off with a double and later scoring on a Joey Wendle ground-rule double.
Kevin Kiermaier led off the second with a single and advanced to second on a Kevin Pillar error. The Tampa Bay centre fielder then stole third, and later scored on a Willy Adames groundout.
“Any time you can limit a team to one run, things are going right,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “We’re not a very high-scoring offence so we have to take advantage of any little mistake, bobble, whatever, to get that extra 90 feet. We don’t score those runs if they don’t do those things.”
Aledmys Diaz got Toronto on the board in the fifth, taking Jaime Schultz’s 2-0 pitch out of the park for his 15th home run of the season.
Tampa restored its two-run lead in the ninth when Adames scored on an single from Jesus Sucre.