(AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping Jose Reyes’ injury can be a source of inspiration.
After getting their first win from their ace, the Blue Jays attempt to run their road winning streak over the Kansas City Royals to seven games Sunday.
Toronto (5-6) is expected to be without Reyes for three months after he suffered a severe left ankle sprain while trying to steal a base in Friday’s 8-4 win at Kansas City.
The All-Star shortstop was hitting .395 and led the majors with five stolen bases before the injury. The Blue Jays overcame Reyes’ absence Saturday, beating the Royals 3-2 as R.A. Dickey yielded one run in 6 1-3 innings for his first win since being acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Mets.
“It certainly hurts to lose a player of Jose’s caliber and personality,” Dickey said. “I think it also provides us with an opportunity to come together and collectively shoulder the burden that we will miss with his absence. Sometimes a situation like that can really cause a team to jell.”
Dickey, who lost his first two starts in a Toronto uniform while allowing 12 runs in 10 2-3 innings, became the first Blue Jays starter to reach the seventh inning.
The starting staff has a 6.83 ERA.
“We’re going to go as far as the rotation is going to bring us,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
Toronto’s starters have a 3.68 ERA during the team’s six-game winning streak at Kauffman Stadium. One of the best outings in that span came from scheduled Sunday starter Brandon Morrow (0-1, 5.59 ERA), who yielded Eric Hosmer’s homer but otherwise stymied the Royals for 6 2-3 innings in a 4-1 victory last April 23.
Morrow, though, has lost his last three outings on the road, posting an 8.76 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .357 with four homers.
The right-hander’s latest poor performance away from home came Tuesday, getting touched for five runs and nine hits – two homers – in 3 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Detroit.
“Just didn’t make a pitch when I needed to,” Morrow said. “Probably, that was the story of the game.”
Hosmer is 5 for 9 with two homers off Morrow, but it’s unclear if he’ll return after missing the first two games of this series with tightness in his right quadriceps. The first baseman has a .344 average with two homers and six RBIs in eight home matchups with Toronto.
Ervin Santana (1-1, 3.21) will take the mound looking to build on his first win since joining the Royals in a trade from the Los Angeles Angels in October.
The right-hander gave up a run in the first inning Monday but didn’t allow another over the next seven, finishing with seven strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Minnesota. He’s fanned 15 batters over 14 innings.
“He really had his big slider working and he had a good fastball, too,” manager Ned Yost said. “After the first inning he really settled down. His slider was phenomenal. He was able to throw it at the back foot of their big sluggers and keep them off balance. Giving us eight strong innings was big.”
Santana, though, is 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA and 10 walks over 19 innings during his last three starts against the Blue Jays – all defeats for the Angels.
Jose Bautista, who hit his third home run Saturday, is 7 for 22 with two homers and three doubles against Santana.
Kansas City (6-5) had won six of seven entering this series.