Travis providing much-needed spark

Travis providing much-needed spark

TORONTO -- After the Blue Jays fell to the Yankees last Tuesday, veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey mentioned the team needed a spark to get its season going, and Devon Travis has certainly provided that.

Travis played hero in Toronto's 10-9 walk-off win over the Red Sox on Saturday, helping the Blue Jays clinch the series with an infield-single in the ninth off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel.

Out since July 28, 2015, after undergoing surgery to fuse an overgrown bone in his left shoulder, Travis made his season debut the day after Dickey's comments, and the Blue Jays have picked up four straight wins en route to breaking above .500 at 26-25.

On Saturday, Travis admitted that he went into a bit of a survival mode in his at-bat against Kimbrel in the ninth. Despite still getting reacclimated with the game speed of the Major Leagues and the power arms that come with playing in the American League East, Travis was able to break through by using a simple approach.

"Man, I had fought off the first fastball and took a terrible swing at the second-pitch slider," Travis said about his encounter with Kimbrel. "I was just trying to battle. Put the ball in play and good things happen; my goal is just to put it in play."

Travis put the third pitch of the at-bat in the play down the third-base line, and Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw had his throw skip by first baseman Hanley Ramirez, allowing Russell Martin to score the winning run and the on-field celebration to begin.

Since Travis' arrival, Toronto's offense has averaged seven runs per game. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native has picked up a hit in each of those contests, and Saturday's game was the first multihit contest of his campaign.

With infielder Ryan Goins struggling to replicate his production from late last season and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right quad strain, the offensive boost from the 25-year-old comes at a welcome time for the Blue Jays.

Travis credits the tight-knit clubhouse for the smooth transition back into the fold, and he said the veteran-laden Blue Jays have allowed him to work his way back while providing an extra ounce of energy.

"I think just the biggest thing is the guys," Travis said. "I had a lot of nerves early on. Just being here with the guys and having them behind me, pumping me up and helping me calm down has been a big help for me."

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.