Guerrero Jr. hits MLB-leading 5th HR, Blue Jays beat A’s 4-1

Apr 15, 2022, 7:18 AM | Updated: 8:18 pm
Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr., right, celebrates his solo home run against the Oakland A...

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr., right, celebrates his solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 15, 2022, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his major league-leading fifth home run, Zack Collins had two hits and an RBI and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Friday night.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reached base three times, scored a run and drove in a run to help Toronto win its sixth straight against Oakland.

Guerrero hit three home runs in Wednesday’s win over the Yankees, then went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts Thursday in the series finale, fanning three times against New York right-hander Luis Severino.

“Severino did a good job against him and then today he’s back to Vlad,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Guerrero was in the lineup at designated hitter for the first time this season and bounced back in the first inning, hammering a 2-2 pitch from Daulton Jefferies 428 feet to right-center.

“I left a cutter up and he took advantage of it,” Jefferies said. “He put a good swing on it.”

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay called Guerrero “a dynamic player.”

“As an opposing manager, you kind of go, ‘Oh, gosh, here he comes again,'” Kotsay said. “From a fan’s standpoint, it’s great for the game. You have to enjoy watching him.”

Guerrero singled in the third and flied out in the fifth. Many in the crowd of 35,415 booed when the Blue Jays slugger was intentionally walked with George Springer at third base in the seventh. Gurriel followed with an RBI double.

With a scoreless ninth, Toronto’s Jordan Romano extended his franchise-record streak by converting his 28th consecutive save opportunity. Romano’s run is the longest active saves streak in baseball.

Ross Stripling started for the Blue Jays and allowed two hits, walked none and struck out three in four shutout innings.

“All my pitches were working and gave us a chance to stay in the ballgame,” Stripling said.

Trevor Richards pitched the fifth and Tim Mayza departed after giving up singles to two of the three batters he faced in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Chad Pinder greeted reliever Adam Cimber with an RBI single, but Cimber retired the next two batters to escape the jam.

Cimber (3-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win, Yimi Garcia worked the eighth and Romano finished for his fifth save.

Toronto’s Matt Chapman went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks in his first game against his former team. Drafted by Oakland in 2014, the third baseman played 573 games over five seasons with the Athletics.

“He looks good in blue,” Jefferies jokes. “It’s always fun to face a teammate like that, especially one that was part of that core group and such a role model for all the younger guys.”

Jefferies (1-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.

“Overall, I thought Daulton gave us a chance to win,” Kotsay said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: Placed OF Stephen Piscotty on the COVID-19 IL and put C Austin Allen, and LHPs A.J. Puk and Kirby Snead on the restricted list. The A’s added LHP Zach Logue, RHP Ryan Castellani, C Christian Bethancourt and INF Drew Jackson as substitute players. … OF Luis Barrera cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (mononucleosis) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session at Toronto’s facility in Florida on Saturday, Montoyo said.

GREAT IN EIGHT

Guerrero matched Carlos Delgado (1994, 2001) and Vernon Wells (2010) for the most home runs by a Blue Jays batter in the first eight games of a season.

SMITH SHINES

Oakland’s Kevin Smith, one of four players acquired from Toronto in the Chapman deal, went 2 for 3 with a double for the first multi-hit game of his career.

“He swung the bat well,” Kotsay said. “I’m happy for the kid.”

UP NEXT

Athletics RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 0.00) faces Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 16.20) on Saturday. Blackburn is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two career starts in Toronto.

___

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Guerrero Jr. hits MLB-leading 5th HR, Blue Jays beat A’s 4-1