Guerrero Jr. takes over MLB home run lead as Blue Jays dominate 1st-place Rays

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., hit his 45th home run of the season, Teoscar Hernandez had a career-high five hits and Alek Manoah was dominant over eight innings as the Toronto Blue Jays dumped the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Monday night.

Toronto scored four runs in the fourth and tacked on three more in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Guerrero belted a 3-1 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole to move into sole possession of the big-league home run lead ahead of Angels slugger Shohei Ohtani.

Bo Bichette also hit a solo homer and Hernandez scored twice. The bottom third of Toronto’s order — Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Randal Grichuk and Breyvic Valera – had three hits apiece.

Manoah (6-2) retired the first 14 batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Joey Wendle in the fifth. He had 10 strikeouts, hit a batter and didn’t issue a walk.

Austin Meadows spoiled Toronto’s shutout plans with a two-out solo homer in the ninth off reliever Trevor Richards.

The Blue Jays extended their win streak to four games — scoring a whopping 52 runs along the way — and have earned victories in 12 of their last 13 games overall.

Toronto (81-63) moved a season-high 18 games above the .500 mark. Tampa Bay (89-55) has dropped four of its last five.

The American League East-leading Rays still have a comfortable eight-game lead on Toronto in the divisional race.

The Blue Jays moved a half-game up on Boston in the race for the first AL wild-card spot. The Red Sox were scheduled to play later Monday night at Seattle.

Toronto was one game ahead of the New York Yankees, who needed 10 innings to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 earlier in the day.

Manoah, a rookie right-hander, had the Rays handcuffed all evening, throwing 62 of his 97 pitches for strikes. Toronto outhit Tampa 17-2.

Tampa Bay starter Collin McHugh pitched into the third inning as the Rays’ opener. He was replaced by Ryan Yarbrough (8-5), who gave up three straight one-out singles before Grichuk’s RBI double made it 2-0. Valera followed with a two-run single.

In the fifth, Bichette turned on a 2-2 pitch for his 24th homer. Hernandez doubled and scored on a single by Gurriel, who came across on a Valera single and the rout was on.

Guerrero’s solo shot came off a 97 m.p.h. fastball from Adam Conley. It had a game-high exit velocity of 113.9 m.p.h.

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier made a brilliant jumping catch against the wall in the seventh inning to deny Gurriel an extra-base hit.

Announced attendance was 12,119 and the game took two hours 53 minutes to play.

The Blue Jays recalled left-hander Ryan Borucki before the game and optioned right-hander Trent Thornton to triple-A Buffalo.

Right-handers will face off Tuesday with Toronto sending Jose Berrios (11-7, 3.52 ERA) to the mound against Drew Rasmussen (2-1, 3.25). The three-game series will wrap Wednesday with a matinee. Softball pitcher Jenna Caira threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She helped the Canadian softball team win bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

Source link