Aaron Sanchez sharp again as Toronto Blue Jays down San Diego Padres

Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez's success is prompting a subject that Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons tired of discussing.

Sanchez is pitching brilliantly in his first full season as a starter, but the time is looming when he might have to go to the bullpen to limit his innings as a way of preserving his 24-year-old arm.


The right-hander allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings Monday night to win his 10th consecutive decision, and the Blue Jays defeated the San Diego Padres 4-2.

"I'm not answering that anymore," Gibbons said of a possible move of Sanchez to a relief role. "If it happens, you'll know about it. I've only answered that how many times? Five thousand times?"

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The Blue Jays (56-44) were sailing with 4-0 lead in the ninth before Alex Dickerson hit a mammoth two-run homer against Bo Schultz to give the Padres (43-57) at least one home run in a club-record 23 straight games. It equals the longest such streak in the National League since the 2006 Atlanta Braves also homered in 23 games in a row.


Dickerson became the first player to hit a home run to the 500 level in right field at Rogers Centre since Shawn Green on April 22, 1999.

"(Sanchez) was nasty today," Dickerson said. "It's probably some of the best stuff I've personally seen to this point in my career. Real late life on his fastball, something you can't really teach. He was down in the zone all day and hitting his spots. It was a battle all day."

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And the home run, his fourth of the season?

"I've seen Bo (Schultz) quite a few times coming up and in spring training and stuff, so I know he's got a really good (cutter) and I was very conscious of it," he said. "I just kind of picked a time to really sell out on it and got it."

Roberto Osuna retired the final two batters of the game to earn his 21st save of the season.

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Kevin Pillar had three hits, including two doubles, and drove in a run for the Blue Jays in the first game that the Padres ever played in Toronto.

Sanchez (11-1) allowed two walks and threw a wild pitch while striking out seven. He has not lost since April 22.


"Fantastic, he's had some kind of year," Gibbons said. "He's put himself in the elite class of baseball at a young age, very little experience.

"He's got such good life on his fastball, it's tough to square him up. He throws that curveball over to keep everybody honest, and he threw some great changeups. He's coming into his own, he's only scratching the surface."

Sanchez also refused to get caught up in the issue of whether he should remain in the rotation.

"My job is to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays, and wherever that may be, that's where it's going to be," he said. "Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about that. But I've said it time and time again, when the time comes, that's when we'll worry about it. Right now, I'll continue to work hard, work smart and take the ball every five days."

Padres manager Andy Green said, "(Sanchez) is special, he really is. The ball jumps out of his hand. Normally sinkers don't have hop life to them, but the ball was hopping and sinking at the same time.

"Occasionally he pulls the string on a changeup that goes halfway across the plate and down."


Padres starter Colin Rea (5-5) gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out four.

"He was able to wiggle out of some messes," Green said.

"My breaking ball, I felt today, was the best it's been all year," Rea said.

Michael Saunders tripled to right-center with one out in fourth inning to give the Blue Jays their first hit of the game. Tulowitzki hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left-center to hand Toronto a 1-0 lead.

The first two hits off Sanchez were infield singles by Solarte in the first and by Dickerson in the fourth.

"I thought my changeup was pretty good, too," Sanchez said. "It was just a good night for me. When you can command your fastball, up and down, in and out, it's a fun game for myself out there. That's kind of what it was tonight."

Toronto led 3-0 after a two-run fifth inning.

Pillar led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by Devon Travis. Jose Bautista walked, and Josh Donaldson had an RBI single.


In the eighth inning, the Blue Jays added a run on doubles by Tulowitzki and Pillar against left-hander Matt Thornton, building their lead to 4-0.

NOTES: Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista batted in the leadoff position in his return to the lineup after missing five weeks due to turf toe. He was 2-for-14 with one home run in four games of a rehabilitation assignment, one at Class A Dunedin and three with Triple-A Buffalo. OF Junior Lake was designated for assignment to make room for Bautista. ... The Padres recalled LHP Keith Hessler from Triple-A El Paso for his fourth stint with the club this season. RHP Kevin Quackenbush was optioned to El Paso. Hessler is 1-1 with a 3.29 ERA in 21 games for El Paso since being acquired off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... Padres RHP Andrew Cashner (4-7, 4.79 ERA) will face Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (8-4, 4.90) on Tuesday.

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