CLEVELAND (AP) — George Springer homered in the first inning and Kevin Gausman struck out six in a combined six-hitter, helping the Toronto Blue Jays to a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday night.
Springer belted a 393-foot shot to left-center on the 13th pitch of his at-bat against Logan Allen (5-5), delighting the boisterous Blue Jays fans who occupied most of the lower bowl at Progressive Field.
Gausman (9-6), an All-Star for Toronto this season, worked seven innings, scattering four hits without a walk and increasing his AL-leading strikeout total to 183. Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza and Jordan Hicks followed as Toronto posted its 12th shutout, tying for the most in the majors.
Hicks earned his 11th save by retiring the only batter he faced, Oscar Gonzalez, as the Blue Jays remained in the third and final AL wild-card position.
Kole Calhoun had two hits for the free-falling Guardians, who have lost nine of 12. Cleveland only advanced two runners past second base, both in the first two innings against the 32-year-old right-handed Gausman.
Allen pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits in his 17th big league appearance. The left-hander was the third rookie to start for the Guardians in the series, following Gavin Williams and Tanner Bibee.
The trio held Toronto to one run over 19 combined innings, but Cleveland has dropped two of the three games and has been blanked 12 times.
Springer also had two singles and is batting .448 (13 for 29) since ending a career-long hitless streak of 35 at-bats on Aug. 2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two hits as the Blue Jays totaled eight against four pitchers.
Guardians third baseman José Ramírez, who is appealing his three-game suspension for exchanging punches with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson on Saturday, went 0 for 4. Anderson also is appealing his six-game ban from the bench-clearing melee.
Blue Jays RHP Chad Green, who is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo, was placed on the seven-day concussion list after being struck on the head by a throw from catcher Tyler Heineman in a Tuesday game at Worcester.
Green ducked to avoid Heineman’s throw to second base on an attempted steal, but the ball glanced off the back of his head. The 32-year-old reliever remained upright and conscious, leaving the field under his own power.
“It’s unfortunate timing because Chad was almost ready to come back (to the majors),” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “Hopefully, it’s not too bad.”
Green underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2022 while pitching for the Yankees. He signed a two-year contract with the Blue Jays in January.
Blue Jays: RHP Jordan Romano (lower back inflammation) tossed an up-and-down bullpen session in Toronto earlier in the day. The closer has been on the 15-day IL since July 29 and could be activated this weekend when the Blue Jays return home.
Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (right shoulder inflammation) surrendered six runs on six hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings in the first outing of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus at Toledo. Quantrill, who was on a 55-pitch limit, threw 54.
Guardians RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-5, 6.75 ERA) takes on Blue Jays RHP Alek Manoah (3-8, 5.72 ERA) in the four-game series finale Thursday. Syndergaard allowed a career-high four homers in his Progressive Field debut, losing to the White Sox 7-4 on Aug. 5.