Hernandez and Jansen’s home runs mark the Blue Jays’ advance in victory over the Rays
ST. PETERSBERG, Fla. – Matt Chapman ran into Charlie Montoyo in the hotel cafeteria before heading to Tropicana Field and the manager had a question for his third baseman. The Toronto Blue Jays he needed a leadoff hitter with George Springer every day with a sprained left ankle, how would he feel if he jumped into the spot?
“I said, ‘Come on,’” recalled Chapman, who had hit everywhere 2-for-9 in the major leagues and needed the top spot to complete the set. “I’m excited to get more AB, try to get on base and help this team win. That is the main focus. Shake things up, see if we can get something going, that’s pretty standard in baseball if the lineup that’s running there maybe isn’t succeeding. Change things up and see if we can get a little bit of a boost.”
His breakthrough eventually came on Saturday night, when Teoscar HernandezThe go-ahead solo shot in the eighth inning opened a four-run blast that led the Blue Jays to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, ending a five-game losing streak.
Hernandez, moved up to third as part of the rearranged order behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and off Bo Bichette, led off the eighth with a 109.3-mph laser to center field off Ryan Thompson, his first since returning from the roster. injured.
The home run was also the Blue Jays’ first since Springer’s opening drive Tuesday at Yankee Stadium and only the second in the past seven games. His inability to score was the main driver of a 2-8 streak, during which they sank four times and scored 33 runs.
This time, instead of following Hernandez’s lead with three quick outs, they added, with Santiago Espinal getting a base hit, advancing to third on Zack Collins’ groundout and scoring on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. base hit. danny jansenactivated from the injured list before the game along with starter Hyun Jin-ryuhe then hit a two-run home run for a 5-1 lead.
Adam Cimber drew an opening walk in the eighth, while Jordan Romano, with his speed back to season norms, nailed things down in the ninth.
While the win was a collective exhalation for an offense that had frustrations building up over the past few days, the Blue Jays also got a boost thanks to the performance of Ryu, who allowed one run on four hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings of work. .
The southpaw’s average fastball speed increased one mph and peaked at 92.1, a slight boost that allowed for better separation between his changeup and the curveball. More importantly, he commanded the ball much more effectively, allowing him to keep the Rays down while the offense exploded.
That Ryu’s return from a bout of forearm inflammation was combined with Jansen’s return from an oblique injury was a happy coincidence. While Jansen’s importance to the club begins with his work behind the plate, his recent work with the bat suggested he had turned the corner offensively and missed his production on that front as well.
Before the home run, he had been hit by a pitch, walked and hit a 103 mph drive to the center-field wall that ended as a long out. The home run was his third of the season.
“One of the things I did in the offseason was really figure out who I was (offensively) and then freedom came,” Jansen said before the game. “Obviously it was tough after the start being on the disabled list for a while, but that freedom that I had at the beginning of the season, in spring training, at the end of last year, finding out who I was really helped me mentally. I’m looking to pick up where I left off with that.”