October 17, 2016 - 10:12 PM
TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons felt his team got a spark when he moved Jose Bautista into the leadoff spot during the regular season.
He tried it again Monday in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, but didn't get the same result.
Bautista singled in the third inning for his first hit since Game 1 of the AL Division Series, but the meat of the Toronto lineup was quiet in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Gibbons lined up four of his top sluggers — Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki — in the first four spots but collectively they went 2 for 13. Toronto had only seven hits, left seven runners on base and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The Blue Jays have managed just three runs in the series and are now a loss away from elimination. Outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was 1 for 4, said there's no easy fix when an offence cools off.
"If we knew we'd be doing it," he said. "That's baseball, it's a tough sport. We just haven't been able to come up with a big hit, it's that simple. It's not from a lack of effort.
"Everyone in here wants to win, everyone in here cares. That's just how it goes sometimes. They're sitting over there with a 3-0 lead because they are getting the timely hits."
Game 4 goes Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Gibbons said he doesn't expect to make any significant changes to the batting order for the must-win contest.
"I may have already done that enough," he said. "No, we'll run the boys out there tomorrow that got us to this point.
"It's a pretty good group. And they're due. They're due. We'll see. We'll see if it's tomorrow."
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016