WASHINGTON -- The Blue Jays seemed to be on the verge of a disastrous road trip earlier this week, but somehow they found a way to salvage it against one of the National League's top teams.
Toronto arrived in Washington having lost two of three on the road against Minnesota. The Blue Jays then lost the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader to fall a season-high seven games below .500. With Max Scherzer throwing later that night, there was the potential for the nightmare to continue.
Instead, the Blue Jays found a way to get a big win on Tuesday night, and they followed that up with another big victory in the series finale, 8-0 on Wednesday over the Nationals. Toronto now finds itself five games below .500, and even though the record is far from ideal, right now, it's good enough for third place in the American League East.
"I think, especially with the pitching staff we were facing and how good this team is, missing a DH and we're not used to playing that way," Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle said. "We just have to keep grinding games out.
"I know it's getting later and later, but in this division, no one is running away with it. As bad as we have played, I haven't really paid attention to the standings the last week or so, but we're not too far out, and we've still been playing pretty bad."
Following Wednesday's victory, the Blue Jays find themselves 4 1/2 games back of the Yankees in the AL East. That's not ideal by any means, but it's also within striking distance if the club can find a way to go on a run.
One reason for optimism is that the Blue Jays' starting rotation seems to have turned a corner of late. Toronto's starters have worked at least six innings in 13 of its last 15 games with a 3.55 ERA.
"We felt they could do that, but you still have to go out and do it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They're in a nice little groove right now. We had a great offensive night again tonight like we did [Tuesday] in that second game.
"We've been doing that pretty regularly throughout the year. That's one thing we do is score runs, so it's a good team to pitch for. Limit the damage, damage control and you've got a shot."