Teoscar Hernandez walks off his former team, Blue Jays drop series opener 3-2
Photo credit:© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack4 months ago
In recent history, the west coast has not been kind to the Blue Jays. This is mainly the case in Seattle, a ballpark in which Toronto holds a 2-8 record since 2019 entering tonight. It doesn’t make sense considering the amount of fan support Toronto gets on this yearly trip – every player that’s a part of it raves about the opportunity.
Friday night’s series opener in the Emerald City probably doesn’t classify as “not kind” – this one was flat out brutal. The Mariners rallied to score three runs in the final three innings, and Teoscar Hernandez played hero with a walk-off RBI single, as Seattle defeated Toronto 3-2.
The Mariners are fighting for their playoff lives, especially with the Blue Jays sitting ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. This loss didn’t seal anything, but Toronto now finds themselves in the final Wild Card spot, only 2.5 games ahead of the Red Sox.
Things worth mentioning
Amidst the disappointment of losing the game, Yusei Kikuchi posted one of his better starts of the season against his former team. Yusei tossed 5.1 innings, allowing five hits, no runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts. Walking only one batter was really encouraging and an improvement upon his last start against Arizona in which he walked three hitters. Furthermore, he dropped his ERA under 4.00 for the first time since his late-June start against Oakland. Kikuchi was in quite the rhythm, especially when it came to his leg kick and fist pump K-strut. He was pulled after only 78 pitches, but Teoscar Hernandez was due up with a runner on first in the 6th inning, and John Schneider opted to bring Trevor Richards in the game.
Danny Jansen broke a scoreless tie in the 5th inning with a solo home run off of Mariners starter Bryce Miller. That homer was number 12 for Jansen this season, as well as RBI number 41, stats that are approaching career highs for him.
Daulton Varsho orchestrated a skillful trip around the bases to pad Toronto’s lead in the 7th inning. He led off the frame with an infield single to third base. Eugenio Suarez made a nice diving stop at the hot corner, but Varsho hustled down the line to get the base hit. He stole second during the next at-bat, and would advance to third on a Jansen groundout. Shortly after, he came into score on a wild pitch from reliever Prelander Berroa.
Toronto had an opportunity to extend their lead in the 8th inning; they worked the bases loaded with one out, and John Schneider elected to pinch-hit Alejandro Kirk for Varsho due to the Mariners implementing a lefty reliever. Unfortunately, Kirk hit the ball on the ground, and you can probably fill in the rest. Inning-ending double play.
Unlikely names in Toronto’s bullpen allowed runs in the final three innings. Although the RBI hit came off of Erik Swanson, Richards surrendered one run in the 7th, Yimi Garcia allowed one in the 8th, and Hernandez’ walk-off hit was off of Jordan Romano in the 9th. Romano’s inning was obviously very frustrating, but it was bound to be that after he walked the No. 9 hitter to lead off the inning.
Not only was it Hernandez having the walk-off hit, but it was Tayler Saucedo (another former Jay) who was the winning pitcher of record.
What’s Next: Toronto will look to even the series up tomorrow with Kevin Gausman on the hill against Logan Gilbert.
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