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Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Hernandez, Chapman homer in 2-1 win as the Blue Jays end their losing streak

It just had to be a victory on “Victory Vlad” Bobblehead day.

The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Cleveland Guardians 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, as two solo home runs from the offense backed a solid start from Mitch White. In doing so, the Blue Jays ended a 3-game losing skid, including an 8-0 beat down at the hands of Cleveland last night.

As previously mentioned, Mitch White got the nod this afternoon. His first start against Minnesota last week was very meh, but to his credit, the rainy conditions weren’t doing him any favors.

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Today, he showed glimpses of him being a reliable arm in the rotation. He went 4 and 2/3 innings, allowing 3 hits and one run. The run was allowed in the first inning, benefitting from two walks in the frame. Andres Giménez hit an RBI single to put Cleveland on the board, but White settled in and kept the Guardians in check. White put up zeros the rest of his outing, including retiring 8 in a row after Gimenez’s hit.

White was good, but the Blue Jays bullpen put up a fabulous performance. A combination of Pop-Cimber-Bass-Garcia-Romano pitched 4 and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, keeping the Jays within striking distance the whole way. Between the first two games of this series, the bullpen has thrown 9 and 1/3 scoreless innings, which is a huge relief considering this group has taken a lot of heat this year. The Guardians don’t boast daunting bats, but zeros are zeros, and that’s what the bullpen needs to put at this time of year.

Maybe extra props should go to Yimi García, who had a rough game on Tuesday in Baltimore. García struck out Amed Rosario and got Jose Ramirez to ground out before giving up a double to Josh Naylor. García was pulled in favor of Jordan Romano, who, although walking his first batter, struck out Oscar Gonzalez to end the 8th. Romano finished off the ninth to earn his 26th save of the season.

The offense was relatively quiet, but they were clutch when they needed to be. Matt Chapman homered in the 5th inning off of Guardians starter Triston McKenzie to tie the game at 1. It was his 23rd homer of the season which now ties Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the team lead. Chapman’s homer also ended the streak of 16 straight innings in which the Jays did not score a run. Speaking of Vladdy, his ground-rule double in the 1st inning ran his hit streak to 22 consecutive games.

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Teoscar Hernandez broke the tie with a solo home run of his own in the 7th inning, putting Toronto up for good. Teoscar launched a McKenzie fastball to left center field to give the 44,977 fans in attendance something to cheer about.

The Jays were looking to add more runs in the 7th, as Raimel Tapia doubled with two outs. Santiago Espinal followed that up by grounding the ball to deep second base (almost shallow left, really). Espinal was able to reach first, but Tapia tried to go from second to home. Unfortunately, Gimenez spun around after fielding the ball, and threw a strike to home plate, as former Blue Jays Silver Slugger Luke Maile tagged Tapia out at home. It was an incredible play by Gimenez, showing off why he was an All-Star this year.

Toronto will look to clinch the series tomorrow afternoon. We’ll likely see another pitching duel as Kevin Gausman will face Shane Bieber. It’ll be Gausman’s first appearance since being named AL Player of the Week, after pitching 14 scoreless innings in his last two outings.


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