TORONTO (AP) — Teoscar Hernández hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scored twice and the Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 Saturday, Toronto’s 11th win in 14 games.
“He can change the game with one swing just as much as anyone around the league,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said of Hernández. “I thought his first couple of at-bats, he was close, he was just underneath a couple of balls. He got a mistake and didn’t miss it.”
Guerrero stayed in the game after being hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Detroit right-hander Derek Law in Toronto’s four–run sixth. Guerrero went down in pain after being hit and stayed down while receiving treatment before taking first base.
“It was close, it was a close call,” Schneider said. “We’re dodging bullets left and right.”
All-Star right-hander Alek Manoah left Friday’s start in the sixth after he was hit on the right elbow by a comebacker. Schneider said Manoah felt better Saturday.
Blue Jays right-hander Trevor Richards (3-1) got two outs to earn the win. Yimi Garcia pitched 1 2/3 innings and Jordan Romano finished for his AL-leading 23rd save in 26 chances, ending it by retiring Javier Báez on a deep fly ball to the warning track in left with a runner at first.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in Guerrero with an RBI single in the first, but Riley Green and Kody Clemens each drove in a run in the fifth and Jonathan Schoop added an RBI single in the sixth to put the Tigers up 3-1.
After George Springer beat out the back end of a double play in the bottom of the sixth, Law (0-1) plunked Guerrero, and Gurriel reached on Law’s fielding error. Bo Bichette hit a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch advanced both runners before Hernández snapped an 0-for-13 slump with his 14th home run, a 424-foot drive to center.
Tigers right-hander Drew Hutchison allowed one run and two hits in five innings against his former team, but the bullpen couldn’t make it stand up.
Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said Hutchison injured his right ankle Friday, eventually forcing him out of Saturday’s game ahead of schedule.
“As the game went on, there was a hole on the mound, which didn’t help,” Hutchison said of his sore ankle. “I don’t think it’ll be an issue going forward.”
Law was making his season debut after being promoted from the taxi squad before the game. He allowed four runs, none earned, in one inning.
“He misexecuted a slider to a good offense and didn’t field his position on a comebacker that could have gotten him out of the inning,” Hinch said. “As we’ve said for three straight days, extra runners, extra outs against these guys is dangerous.”
Right-hander Ross Stripling started for Toronto, allowing two runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Tigers: Hinch said LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will report to Detroit’s spring training facility in Florida on Sunday and could pitch for Class A Lakeland next week. Rodriguez signed a five-year, $77 million contract last November but has not pitched for the Tigers since May 18, when he left a game against Tampa Bay in the first inning with sprained ribs. Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list June 13 because of personal reasons. He is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts.
Blue Jays: Bichette returned to SS after being held out of the starting lineup Friday because of a sore left shoulder. Springer, who didn’t play Friday because of a sore right elbow, was the DH.
Tigers: Detroit selected Law from Triple-A Toledo and returned substitute player RHP Bryan Garcia to Triple-A.
Blue Jays: Toronto recalled RHP Trent Thornton from Triple-A Buffalo and optoned RHP Max Castillo to Triple-A.
DAD’S OLD OFFICE
Detroit’s Kody Clemens started at first base, his first career appearance in the city where dad Roger won back-to-back AL Cy Young awards pitching for the Blue Jays in 1996 and 1997.
Schneider arranged for a local Toronto DJ to perform in the Blue Jays clubhouse before the game. Springer was spotted dancing along a clubhouse corridor as the music blared.
“That guy worked hard for a long time,” Stripling said. “He was there from 11:00 until we took the field, and just jamming. It was cool. It brought some energy for sure.”
Tigers RHP Garrett Hill (1-2, 5.63) starts Sunday’s series finale against Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (7-4, 5.20). Berríos is 6-2 in 13 career games against Detroit, including 12 starts.