DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - The Toronto Blue Jays are taking no chances with newcomer George Springer.
Marcus Semien homered and drove in four runs as Toronto finished off a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 7-2 win Sunday after Springer exited early with leg fatigue.
Joe Panik pinch-hit for Springer in the sixth inning.
“Legs felt tired, that’s how he said it,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It was hot today.”
Springer was the designated hitter for the fourth consecutive game since making his Toronto debut Wednesday. The World Series MVP when Houston won its first title in 2017 signed a team-record $150 million, six-year deal with the Blue Jays this offseason but missed time because of a strained oblique and later because of a right quadriceps strain.
“He didn’t do anything for a long time, so we have to be careful,” Montoyo said.
Springer hit his first two homers with Toronto on Saturday night.
Semien hit a two-run homer during a three-run eighth to help Toronto win for the seventh time in nine games.
Braves starter Ian Anderson (2-1) lasted just four innings, allowing four runs and six hits during an 89-pitch outing.
“It was a grind from the get-go,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Just didn’t have a good feel for anything. Just one of those days.”
Anderson was coming off wins against the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs in which he allowed five hits in 13 2/3 scoreless innings. The right-hander limited the Cubs to one hit over seven innings on April 27.
Danny Jansen, hitless in his previous 35 at-bats, had an RBI single in the second and Semien’s two-run double in the third put Toronto up 3-1.
Jansen also singled in the fourth and scored to make it 4-1 on Bo Bichette’s double.
“It feels great man, man,” Jansen said. “A sigh of relief.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. got Atlanta with 4-2 in the fifth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to the center-field warning track off Ross Stripling.
Ryan Borucki (3-1) replaced Stripling and prevented further damage by striking out Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna.
“What a job by Borucki,” Stripling said. “It was awesome.”
Stripling, coming back from a right forearm flexor strain, gave up two runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Rafael Dolis entered with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth and struck out Acuña to get his third save.
William Contreras, recalled from the alternate site after the Braves put catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Jackson on the injured list, had an RBI single in the second.
The Braves are 1-5 on Sunday. Atlanta went 44-18 (.710) on Sunday from 2018- 2020, one of just two teams in baseball to win 70 percent of their Sunday games in that span. The Los Angeles Dodgers went 48-16 (.750).
Braves: D’Arnaud went on the 60-day IL with a torn ligament in his left thumb and will have surgery in the next few days after getting hurt Saturday night on a tag play at the plate. Snitker said d’Arnaud is expected back this season. Jackson was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained left hamstring.
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (right glute strain) could return Thursday after missing one start. … C Alejandro Kirk (left flexor strain), LHP Tommy Milone (left shoulder inflammation), and RHP Anthony Castro (right forearm strain) were placed on 10-day IL.
Braves: Open a three-game series at Washington on Tuesday night. RHP Huascar Ynoa (2-1) will face RHP Joe Ross (2-1).
Blue Jays: Start a 10-game, 11-day road trip through three different time zones Monday night in Oakland. LHP Steven Matz (4-1) and Athletics RHP Frankie Montas (2-2) are the starters. Toronto will also make stops in Houston and Atlanta.
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