Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sanchez Stellar through Seven Innings as Blue Jays Topple Padres

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sanchez Stellar through Seven Innings as Blue Jays Topple Padres

Article excerpt

Sanchez shines as Blue Jays top Padres


TORONTO - It is probably the biggest question surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays for the rest of this regular season: Will Aaron Sanchez, who has developed into the most dominant starter in a very good pitching staff, stay in the rotation or move to the bullpen?

Manager John Gibbons is done fielding that question.

"I'm not talking about that anymore," Gibbons said after another Sanchez gem en route to a 4-2 Blue Jays win over the San Diego Padres. "If it happens, you'll know about it. If not, quit asking. I've only answered that how many times?

"Ask somebody else."

Right now, Sanchez's performances are doing the loudest talking.

On Monday, Sanchez (11-1) was as good as he has been all year. He allowed just three hits, with only one -- a double from Alex Dickerson in Sanchez's seventh and final inning -- leaving the infield.

Sanchez also struck out seven batters, four of whom were caught looking. It was the seventh-straight start that Sanchez had allowed two or fewer runs. He has accomplished that feat in nine of his previous 10 starts.

When the Padres made contact at all, it was weak. Harmless pop outs and grounders were the norm. Sanchez lowered his earned-run average to 2.72, the second-lowest mark in the American League, and became the first Blue Jays pitcher to win 10 straight since Roy Halladay won 15 decisions in a row in 2003.

"He's got great life on his fastball," Gibbons said. "It's tough to square him up. He threw enough curveballs over to keep everybody honest, and even a couple of change-ups. He's really coming into his own."

Of course, that re-started the conversation about where Sanchez will finish the season -- in the bullpen or the rotation. Sanchez badly wanted to start at the beginning of the year, but mentioned the injury issues of the New York Mets' Matt Harvey, who recently had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder, when asked about his status.

"My job is to pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays," Sanchez said. "Wherever that may be, that's where it's going to be. Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about that. I've said it time and time again: When the time comes, that's when we're going to worry about it. …

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