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Blue Jays meet after another ugly Alek Manoah start, series against the Rays

Matt Chapman and the Blue Jays have been in a knee-buckling slump, losing 16 of 24 after dropping three in four days at Tropiciana Field against the East-leading Rays.Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Their latest loss prompted Toronto players to call a postgame meeting in response to a 2-9 stretch manager John Schneider described as being “punched right in the face.”

“We have to get better,” Schneider said after Thursday’s 6-3 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. “When it comes down to us as a staff, the expectations are put right in front of you. There is an urgency that needs to be had in order to meet those expectations. Wins and losses out the window. The last 10 days haven’t been great, and I think that the urgency in which those expectations are trying to be achieved is not right there.”


“Yes, that’s on me and the players . . . Ultimately on me,” Schneider added. “When the players are recognizing that, and when the players are calling attention to that, it’s going to hold a lot more weight than anyone of the staff members trying to get mad or get in their face.”

Zach Eflin became the major leagues’ third seven-game winner in the victory over struggling Alek Manoah as the Rays took three of four from the Blue Jays.

Eflin picked up his league-leading seventh win Thursday.Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Eflin (7-1) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings as the major league-leading Rays (37-15) stole seven bases for the second time this season and improved to 24-5 at home. He joins teammate Shane McClanahan (8-0) and Minnesota’s Joe Ryan (7-1) as the big leagues’ winningest pitchers.

“Elite pitch execution,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “To get them to swing early in the count and not drive the ball, it’s speaks to Zach’s stuff.”

Manoah (1-5), a 16-game winner last year, extended his winless streak to nine starts after giving up five runs, three hits, and five walks over three innings with six strikeouts. He threw just 44 of 87 pitches for strikes and his ERA climbed to 5.53. The Rays stole five bases while he was on the mound.


“We know we’re better than we’re playing right now,” Manoah said. “We just need to stick together, and we’ve just got to keep fighting.”

Toronto (26-25) is 8-15 in May. The Blue Jays are 6-15 in division play after going 43-33 last year. They trail the Rays by 10½ games, and the teams do not meet again until six games during the final 10 days of the season.

Manfred: Oakland vote could come quick, but needs deal

Commissioner Rob Manfred says a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet from June 13-15 in New York.

“It’s possible that a relocation vote could happen as early as June,” Manfred said in Milwaukee, during his tour of major league stadiums to speak with players. “It’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there’s actually a deal to be considered. There is a relocation process internally they need to go through, and we haven’t even started that process.”

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative leaders and the Athletics had reached a tentative agreement on a $1.5 billion stadium funding plan that would lure the franchise to Las Vegas. A funding bill still must be approved by the Legislature.

Manfred was asked whether he believes the door is completely closed on the possibility of the Athletics remaining in Oakland, where the team has played since it arrived from Kansas City in 1968.


“I think you’d have to ask the mayor of Oakland that,” Manfred said. “She said she had cut off negotiations after an announcement was made in Las Vegas. I don’t have a crystal ball as to where anything’s going. There’s not a definitive deal done in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao had issued a statement after the Athletics’ land purchase in Nevada saying she was disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with the city as a “true partner.”

Manfred was in Milwaukee as Wisconsin legislators debate potential funding plans for American Family Field, the Brewers’ home stadium since 2001. The Brewers’ lease, which runs through 2030, calls for the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District to cover repairs. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the team have said the district does not have enough money to pay for what is needed, and proposed spending nearly $300 million from the state surplus to make improvements at the stadium.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declared that plan dead on arrival. Talks have been ongoing in private.

“This is a gem of a ballpark,” Manfred said. “It’s really important that the existing obligation under the lease be funded so that this great ballpark is maintained on a regular basis. It needs to be done in a timely way.”


Nolan Gorman, Cardinals stay hot

Nolan Gorman hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and scored on a wild pitch in Cincinnati, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Reds, 2-1, for their 13th win in 18 games.

Miles Mikolas (3-1) won his third straight decision, allowing five hits over seven scoreless innings, which matched his season high. He struck out five and walked none. Giovany Gallegos gave up a two-out RBI single to Stuart Fairchild in the ninth before striking out Luke Maile for his fifth save in six chances.

Gorman delivered the big hit for the Redbirds Thursday.Aaron Doster/Associated Press

St. Louis (23-29), which has rebounded after a 10-24 start, gave All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras the afternoon off and still gained a split of the four-game series. It went ahead in the eighth when Lars Nootbaar singled with two outs, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on Gorman’s liner down the right-field line that extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games (20 for 54, .370). Gorman scored on Sims’ second wild pitch of the inning.

Cincinnati, last in the NL Central at 21-29, has lost seven of 10.

Odor sweet as Padres finally win series

Rougned Odor hit a three-run homer off Hunter Harvey with two outs in the ninth inning, giving the San Diego Padres an 8-6 win over the host Washington Nationals that stopped a steak of five straight series losses.

Washington trailed, 5-1, before seven straight hits in a five-run seventh inning. Jake Cronenworth and Juan Soto singled leading off the ninth. Harvey (2-2) struck out Xander Bogaerts and Matt Carpenter, and Odor homered on an 1-0 fastball, lining the ball just inside the right-field foul pole.


Odor also hit a two-run double and had five RBIs, one short of his career high. He has homered in consecutive games and has 10 hits in his last 12 games as he subs for the injured Manny Machado.

Soto reached base five times on four walks and a single against his former team. San Diego, which took two of three from the Nationals, had not won a series since May 1-3 against Cincinnati.

Rain falls on Marlins as Rockies come back

Ezequiel Tovar singled through a five-man infield during a ninth-inning storm in Denver, lifting Colorado over the Miami Marlins, 7-6, after the Rockies wasted a four-run lead in the top of the inning.

Colorado took a 6-2 lead with four runs in the eighth, but Jorge Soler and pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper hit two-run homers on curveballs from Pierce Johnson in the ninth. Huascar Brazobán (0-1) walked Kris Bryant and Elias Díaz on four pitches each starting the bottom half, retired Randal Grichuk on a flyout, then walked Ryan McMahon on four straight pitches after getting ahead, 0-2.

Amid a downpour with thunder and lightning overhead, the Marlins moved right fielder Garrett Hampson to the infield and Tovar hit a chopper past diving third baseman Jean Segura into left field.

The Rockies took three of four in the series, but rookie center fielder Brenton Doyle left on a cart in the ninth after he was injured leaping in an attempt to deny Soler’s home run.

Gary Sánchez lasts three games with Mets

Two-time All-Star Gary Sánchez was designated for assignment by the New York Mets when they reinstated fellow catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list.

Sánchez went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI in three games with New York, looking shaky at times behind the plate. With two Mets catchers on the IL, he joined the club on a minor league contract this month and was promoted to the big leagues last Friday after hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse.

The team has seven days to trade Sánchez, release him or send him outright to the minors — an assignment he could decline if he’d rather become a free agent again.

Sánchez also spent time in the minors with San Francisco this season before getting released May 2 and signing with the Mets a week later. His best seasons came across town with the Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

What does the future hold for Gary Sánchez?Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

Long night in Atlanta

Austin Riley hit a pair of monstrous homers and pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud came through with a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning that carried host Atlanta to an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the first meeting between the NL East rivals since the Phillies’ upset victory in the 2022 divisional round. D’Arnaud, sent up for slumping Michael Harris II with the bases loaded, lined a one-out single to left field off Gregory Soto (1-4). Matt Olson added a sacrifice fly, and the Braves became the first team in nearly four years to hit three homers off Aaron Nola . . . Two-time All-Star righthander Julio Teheran made his first major league appearance in over two years, for the Milwaukee Brewers against the San Francisco Giants. The 32-year-old agreed to terms with the Brewers on Tuesday and the deal was finalized ahead of the game against the Giants. He gets a $1.5 million salary while in the major leagues and $500,000 while in the minors, plus can earn $1 million in performance bonuses. Teheran was an All-Star with Atlanta in 2014 and 2016. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 3, 2021; he went on the injured list with a strained shoulder less than a week later. The Brewers hope Teheran, who opted out of a minor league deal with the Padres earlier this week, can provide some stability for their pitching staff while two-time All-Star Brandon Woodruff, Wade Miley, Eric Lauer, and Aaron Ashby are on the injured list with shoulder problems . . . Randy Vásquez will be called up to the New York Yankees to make his major league debut in Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres. The 24-year-old righthander will be used either as an opener or in relief, with New York short on starting pitching while Domingo Germán serves a 10-game suspension for violating baseball’s prohibition of foreign substances on the mound.