SAN FRANCISCO -- If anybody doubted Troy Tulowitzki's ability to produce offensively, his performance in the Toronto Blue Jays' 4-0 Interleague triumph Tuesday night over the San Francisco Giants went a long way toward silencing the skeptics.
Entering the game batting .165, Tulowitzki went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and was directly involved in all of Toronto's scoring, which complemented J.A. Happ's four-hit, 8 2/3-inning gem. Tulowitzki delivered a second-inning home run, a seventh-inning sacrifice fly following Michael Saunders' triple and a ninth-inning RBI double before scoring himself.
"There's a long ways to go," Tulowitzki said after his first multi-hit game since April 25. "It's not like I'm happy with where I'm at and I know there's a whole bunch of games left to prove myself. So it's not like I'm going to sit here and [say,] 'OK, now I'm good to go.' I still have to come out here, work hard and not take anything for granted."
Happ (5-0) came one out short of recording his first Major League shutout since Aug. 30, 2010, against St. Louis as a member of the Astros. The left-hander threw 75 strikes in 111 pitches and permitted just three Giants to stray past first base until the ninth inning.
San Francisco's luckless loser was Matt Cain (0-5), who exceeded seven innings for the first time since June 28, 2014, by lasting eight innings while yielding two runs and six hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Tulo Time: Runs have come at a premium for the Blue Jays of late, but the performance of their rotation has meant they've been able to win a lot of low-scoring games. Tulowitzki provided the early lead with a solo shot to left in the top of the second inning. According to Statcast™, Tulowitzki's sixth homer of the year traveled 381 feet and left his bat at 104 mph. It wasn't much, but it turned out to be all the offense Toronto would need.
"I've done everything, trust me," Tulowitzki said. "You guys know how much I love this game. I've been in the cage grinding, I've been watching video. I've been doing anything I possibly can to figure things out. I definitely won't stop doing that. I'll get it. It's definitely a tough game at times, but I've been here before."
Missed opportunity: Happ gave the Giants virtually no chance to score, and they couldn't capitalize on the sole opening he gave them. Jarrett Parker walked and Kelby Tomlinson singled to begin the sixth inning. Then Cain forced Parker at third base with a poor sacrifice-bunt attempt. Denard Span connected solidly, but his grounder zipped directly to Tulowitzki, who started an inning-ending double play.
"If he gets that bunt down, it's a different game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Insurance policy: Toronto was clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning when Saunders came through with a triple to the gap in right-center field. Tulowitzki then produced a sacrifice fly as the Blue Jays got a little bit of breathing room with a 2-0 lead. Saunders, who missed almost all of last year following a serious knee injury, has 14 extra-base hits in 28 games this season. Toronto then added two more insurance runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
"It was really a well-pitched game on both sides," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We managed to get the home run early, and we didn't want to sit on that the whole time; we opened it up a bit late."
Only a tease: The Giants loaded the bases in the ninth inning, forcing Happ from the game and bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But Parker struck out, maintaining San Francisco's offensive futility. The Giants have scored three runs in 40 innings spanning their last four games.
"We've got to get guys back to swinging the bats the way they can," Bochy said.
One of them is catcher Buster Posey, whose 0-for-18 skid is one at-bat shy of the worst hitless stretch of his career.
"I'm definitely not exactly where I want to be, but looking back over the last few games, I've hit some balls on the nose," Posey said. "I just have to keep going."
"I tip my hat to him because he has taken a lot of heat. He has been working hard. You know what? He's a [darn] good player." -- Gibbons on Tulowitzki
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Happ singled with one out in the top of the eighth inning, which was the 17th hit of his career. He also has a two-game hitting streak dating back to last season when he pitched for the Pirates.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Giants challenged a ninth-inning run scored by Toronto, claiming Tulowitzki didn't touch third base as he rounded the bag and headed for home. Following a replay review, the call on the field was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman will take the mound when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Giants on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Stroman has struck out 17 and allowed just three runs over his previous two outings against the Rays and Dodgers. The 17 strikeouts are the most he's ever had over a span of two starts.
Giants: San Francisco has won each of the last three games started by Madison Bumgarner, who'll start Wednesday's 12:45 p.m. PT series finale against Toronto. He has a 2.25 ERA, 26 strikeouts and just five walks in this three-game stretch.