TORONTO (AP) — Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison packed plenty of punch against the punchless Chicago Cubs.
Hutchison matched his career-high with 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings, Dioner Navarro had two hits and two RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep with an 11-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night.
Navarro said Hutchison was “outstanding” in improving to 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his past four home starts.
“He utilized the strike zone,” Navarro said. “We knew we were playing a free-swinging team, so get ahead and expand. He did a great job of that.”
Hutchison (10-11) allowed one run and four hits in his second career 10-strikeout game — both this season. He also did it against Milwaukee on July 1.
“My slider has been good to both sides of the plate lately,” Hutchison said. “I think that’s been a big reason why I’ve pitched well.”
Jorge Soler’s seventh-inning homer provided the only run for the Cubs, who matched a season-worst with their sixth straight loss. At 64-82, they are ensured of a fifth straight losing season. It is the first time they have had five consecutive seasons below .500 since six straight from 1978-83.
Chicago has been outscored 48-10 during its losing streak.
“We’ve hit a skid lately,” Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks said. “We’ve got to do something to get out of it.”
Jose Bautista went 0 for 2 with two walks, snapping his hitting streak at 13 games, but the Blue Jays improved to 7-2 in September.
Javier Baez drew a one-out walk in the first and had rounded third on Luis Valbuena’s double when he saw the stop sign from third base coach Gary Jones. Baez tried to retreat but was thrown out at third by Navarro.
Chicago didn’t get another runner until Chris Coghlan’s two-out double in the sixth snapped a streak of 15 consecutive outs.
Leading 1-0 on Anthony Gose’s sacrifice fly, Toronto chased right-hander Kyle Hendricks with a three-run sixth. Hendricks (6-2) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings to lose for the first time since July 27 against St. Louis.
The Blue Jays added five more in the seventh against a trio of relievers, and Canadian rookie Dalton Pompey made it 10-1 with a groundout in the eighth, his first career RBI.
“I’ll never forget it,” Pompey said.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said the team is considering pushing rookie RHP Marcus Stroman back two days to allow Mark Buehrle to start against the Rays on Sunday. Buehrle is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts against Tampa Bay this season. Stroman, who’s 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against the Rays, would face Baltimore instead.
DIFFERENT KIND OF CUBS
After batting practice, the Blue Jays returned to their clubhouse and cavorted with a baby lion and a baby tiger, with several players taking photos with the animals and posting them on social media. Bautista posed holding the tiger in his hands, while Edwin Encarnacion sat on a clubhouse couch with the tiger on his lap. “I got videos, pictures,” Navarro said. “My kids are pretty jealous.”
Cubs: 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) took batting practice on the field for the first time since being injured on Aug. 26. He homered into the center field seats on his final swing.
Blue Jays: Navarro took a foul tip off the top of his left knee in the sixth. He was attended to by the trainer but remained in the game.
Cubs: Chicago is off Thursday before opening a three-game series at Pittsburgh on Friday, with LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (4-2) facing Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (8-5). Wada faced Pittsburgh in his most recent start, Sept. 5 at Wrigley Field, but left after 3 1-3 innings with a sore left calf.
Blue Jays: Toronto is off Thursday before opening a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Friday. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (9-9) will face Rays RHP Nathan Karns (season debut). Happ will be making his first start against the Rays this season.