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Bautista shifted to leadoff hitter as Blue Jays search for some ALCS offence

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons speaks at a news conference in Toronto on Sunday, October 16, 2016. The Blue Jays play the Cleveland Indians in game three of the ALCS on Monday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
October 17, 2016 - 2:13 PM

TORONTO - The Blue Jays continue to tweak their batting lineup in search of some offence.

Toronto manager John Gibbons shifted Jose Bautista to leadoff from the cleanup position on Monday for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians.

"We haven't been scoring many runs (so) go back to something that's really worked for us: Run your top dogs right away," Gibbons said before the game Monday.

"Do it before it's too late," he added. "See if it works ... we'll see. No guarantees."

Bautista went 0-for-six with five strikeouts in the first two games against Cleveland. But the Jays went 25-15 this season with the veteran right-fielder hitting leadoff.

Ezequiel Carrera had been batting leadoff in place of the injured Devon Travis. He drops to eighth with second baseman Ryan Goins at ninth.

Before Game 2 in Cleveland, Gibbons moved Troy Tulowitzki up to fifth with Russell Martin dropping to No. 6.

The Game 3 lineup was Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Tulowitzki, Martin, Michael Saunders, Kevin Pillar, Carrera and Goins.

Gibbons also hopes the revamped lineup will produce some extra offence at the bottom end of the lineup.

Cleveland outscored Toronto 4-1 in winning Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland. The Jays hit just .159 (10-for-63) with 25 strikeouts in the first two games.

Toronto is hitting just .053 (1-for-19) with 13 strikeouts in the seventh inning on.

And while the Jays still lead all teams in the post-season with 10 home runs, they did not find the fences in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland.

Gibbons credited the Indians' ability to throw the breaking ball in handcuffing the Jays at the plate.

"Generally if you've got a good breaking ball, you're going to get most guys out in the league ... Good breaking balls are hard to hit. A lot of times what you just hope to be able to is foul it off to stay alive"

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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