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Rotation clicking as Jays hit road

It began with a shutout that was followed by two more wins and then aseason-debut that was mightily impressive, even if it didn’t end invictory.

It began with a shutout that was followed by two more wins and then a season-debut that was mightily impressive, even if it didn’t end in victory.

And after Brandon Morrow finished up the week with an 11-strikeout gem in yet another excellent bounce-back outing for the hard-throwing righty, there was one undisputed fact.

As the Jays open a six-game road trip today against the Tampa Bay Rays, the starting pitching is more than holding its own.

“I think we’ve been throwing the ball well for a while now,” Morrow said after holding the Texas Rangers to two runs over seven innings of Sunday’s 7-3 Toronto victory.

“I think everybody in the rotation has found their stride. It’s good to have (Brett) Cecil back and throwing the ball like he can, (Carlos) Villanueva’s doing great and (Brad) Mills was awesome (Saturday in his first major league start of the season).

“Just kind of one of those things where you pass the baton and you want to keep going.”

The starting pitching was able to mask some scuffling from the batting order, the kind of “we’ll take care of you, you take care of us” teamwork that’s necessary.

Jose Bautista hasn’t had a home run in 14 games, his longest drought of the season, Adam Lind is just 4-for-36 over his last nine games and Travis Snider has seen his production drop off so quickly after a torrid post-recall start (5-for-31 with no homers in eight games) he was out of the starting lineup against two Texas lefties on the weekend.

“I don’t think we’re at the point of saying Travis is solely a platoon guy,” said manager John Farrell.

But what the Jays have now is a roster with more options for the manager. He can mix and match as he sees fit — Rajai Davis was in left Sunday, Edwin Encarnacion played first base for two games, J.P. Arencibia was the designated hitter Sunday — and the inevitable call-up of third baseman Brett Lawrie will make it even easier for the manager to dole out playing time solely on merit.

“I think competition brings out the best in players and yes, we’re at the point where performance is weighed into the equation of spots in the lineup and playing time,” he said Sunday.

“At some point you have young players come to the major leagues, you have to provide an opportunity not only to transition but to get to the point of being established but when you bring multiple guys of similar skills and similar abilities, ultimately performance wins out.”

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