Vladimir Guerrero Jr Toronto Blue Jays Oakland Athletics
TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a solo homer and starter Ross Stripling pitched four shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Guerrero opened the scoring by winning a 2-2 pitch from Oakland starter Daulton Jefferies (0-1) in the first inning. The Toronto hitter, who also singled and reached on a walk, leads the major leagues with five home runs this season.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Raimel Tapia and Zack Collins also had two hits apiece as the Blue Jays (5-3) won Game 1 of the three-game series.
Closest Jordan Romano worked a clean ninth inning for his fifth save in five chances.
Tapia gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the second inning when he scored from the opening goal on a Santiago Espinal brace in the left field corner. The speedy Tapia easily beat the throw home with a head-first slide.
Stripling retired the first seven Athletics in order before giving up a brace to Kevin Smith. A groundout and a lineout left him stuck.
Oakland pinch hitter Chad Pinder drove in the Athletics’ lone run in the sixth inning.
Tim Mayza gave up a pair of singles before being replaced by Adam Cimber (3-0) with one out. Pinder welcomed the sidearmer with a single that marked Tony Kemp.
Pinder then stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but Cimber got Seth Brown on a pop-up to end the threat.
The Blue Jays veered on an insurance run in the bottom half of the frame. Espinal intentionally edged Collins, who singled to tackle Gurriel from third.
Gurriel was back in the seventh when he led off George Springer, who started the inning with a double.
Stripling allowed two hits, had three strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. The right-hander, who was on a pitch count, threw 40 of his 62 pitches for strikes.
Jefferies, meanwhile, allowed two earned runs, seven hits, walked one and struck out a pair in 4 1/3 innings.
Toronto beat Oakland 11-6. Reported attendance was 35,415 and the game lasted three hours.
Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman went 0-for-2 with two walks in his first game against the Athletics since the Blue Jays acquired him from Oakland last month.
Chapman played 573 games for Oakland in five seasons.
Toronto right-hander Nate Pearson is set to kick off a bullpen session on Saturday as he tries to rebuild after a bout of mononucleosis. He threw 90 feet on Wednesday.
Live batting practice would be the next step if Pearson continues to improve, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said before the game.
On Friday, the Athletics placed outfielder Stephen Piscotty on the COVID-19 injured list while receiver Austin Allen and lefties AJ Puk and Kirby Snead were added to the shortlist.
Receiver Christian Bethancourt, infielder Drew Jackson and pitchers Zach Logue and Ryan Castellani have been named replacements on the active roster.
As part of celebrations honoring the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball debut, a display of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame artifacts was on display at the north end of the stadium.
The exhibit included Negro League memorabilia, photos of Robinson, and other artwork. Players from both teams wore No. 42 during the game.
ON THE BRIDGE
Toronto left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 16.20 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Athletics will turn to right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-0, 0.00).
Ryu was scored for six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in a 12-6 loss to the Texas Rangers last weekend.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 15, 2022.
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