Toronto takes a look at Travis in leadoff spot

Hot-hitting second baseman usually bats ninth for Blue Jays

Toronto takes a look at Travis in leadoff spot

NEW YORK -- Devon Travis moved into the Blue Jays' leadoff spot for Monday afternoon's 5-3 loss to the Yankees, but the change is expected to be short-lived. It immediately paid off in the first, as he led off the game with a double and scored to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. He finished 1-for-5.

Travis has been one of the club's top offensive performers during the second half of the season. He entered play on Monday with a team-high 52 hits since the All-Star break but typically finds himself hitting out of the No. 9 spot.

The continued production has generated some talk that Travis should be moved to a higher spot in the lineup, but the club would instead prefer to stick with its current big three of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion at the top of the order. The trio each moved down a spot Monday with Travis batting leadoff.

The main reason behind the temporary change for the series opener vs. the Yankees was because Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki were both out of the lineup. Martin got a regular day off with personal catcher Josh Thole behind the plate for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Tulowitzki received a break because of the quick turnaround, which saw the club open the series with a rare matinee game.

"It's because of the way the lineup is configured today," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Instead of keeping him down at the bottom, put him up top."

Bautista is far from being a traditional leadoff hitter, but the club has prioritized a high on-base percentage in the top spot. He entered play with a .222 average but still has a very strong .345 OBP, which bodes well when hitting in front of Donaldson and Encarnacion.

By comparison, Travis is in the midst of a hot streak and is batting .323 (52-for-161) with 11 doubles since the break but has a similar OBP (.347) during that span to the one Bautista has posted all year. That's one of the main reasons the lineup is expected to return to normal on Tuesday when Tulowitzki and Martin make their returns.

"He needs it," Gibbons said of the day off for Tulowitzki. "Day game yesterday, traveling, he could use it."

Osuna making his mark

Roberto Osuna, 21, became the youngest pitcher to reach 30 saves in a season since 1969 when he closed out Sunday's victory over the Rays. That covers the span of time since saves were recognized as an official stat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous youngest was right-hander Neftali Feliz, who was 22 when he saved his 30th game in 2010.

Osuna entered play on Monday with a 2.44 ERA in 59 appearances this season. He has struck out 73 and walked just 11 over those 59 innings.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.