Buffalo, New York – Rowdy Tellez drove in four runs, and the Blue Jays bullpen provided Toronto’s injury depleted group of starters a much needed rest.
And yet overshadowing Toronto’s 9-1 route of the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night were questions of whether both teams should have played as opposed to sitting out and joining other teams across several sports to protest this past weekend’s shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Wisconsin.
“It’s one of those things that’s weighing heavy on a lot of our hearts,” Tellez said. “We, as a Blue Jays organization, are very multicultural and we support everything that’s going on. Sports around the world have a heavy presence in this. We have a big platform, and a big voice, and that’s something we’re going to use.”
The Red Sox weren’t aware of NBA and MLB teams protesting until shortly before they hit the field for stretches.
“I’m in full support of it,” said outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., whose mother is a former Virginia state trooper.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo didn’t rule out the possibility of not playing the third and final game of their series against Boston on Thursday.
“We’re going to talk to the players,” Montoyo said. “We’re going to discuss it and see where we go with this.”
On the field, Montoyo’s bid to go with what he called a “bullpen day” of relievers paid off in a game where five Toronto pitchers combined to allow three hits, struck out seven and walked three.
Rookie right-hander Shun Yamaguchi (1-2) got the win in allowing one run on two hits over four innings of relief for Toronto, which bounced back a day after squandering a 4-0 lead in a 9-7 loss to Boston. He took over in the third after Jason Merryweather allowed one hit and struck out three in two innings work in his first major league start, and just third appearance.
“He did what we needed,” Montoyo said of Yamaguchi. “It worked out how we mapped it out, but it was because Yamaguchi gave us those four big innings.”
Vladimir Guererro Jr. hit a pair of doubles, including a three-run bouncer down the left field line which keyed a four-run seventh inning for Toronto (15-14).
Mitch Moreland homered for the Red Sox (10-21), who are 4-3 in their past seven since snapping a nine-game skid. Colton Brewer (0-2) got the loss in allowing four runs on five hits, including three homers, in 3 2/3 innings.
Tellez broke open the game with Toronto leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
Guerrero Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games with a leadoff double into the corner in left field. Tellez followed by crushing a 1-1 pitch to deep right.
Tellez also homered to lead off the second inning, putting Toronto up 2-0. It was the fourth multi-homer game of his career, and second against Boston. He had three two-home run games last year.
Randal Grichuk also homered and drove in two runs for Toronto, which improved to 5-4 at its temporary home in Buffalo, New York.
Rays 4, Orioles 3
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Michael Perez hit a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning and the AL East-leading Bay Rays beat the Baltimore.
Perez homered to center off Mychal Givens (0-1). It was his first long ball since Aug. 10, 2018.
Tampa’s Yoshitomo Tsutsugo was 0-for-2 in the win.
Braves 5, Yankees 1 (1st)
Braves 2, Yankees 1 (2nd)
In Atlanta, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning off Chad Green and the Braves, led by another strong start from Max Fried, rallied to beat New York to sweep a doubleheader.
The Yankees have lost five straight and saw outfielder Aaron Judge aggravate his strained right calf. The second game of the twinbill was Judge’s first since being activated from the injured list, and he left in the middle of the sixth inning.
In the opener, Ian Anderson dazzled in his big league debut, holding New York hitless into the sixth inning and ending Gerrit Cole’s 20-game winning streak.
Masahiro Tanaka was dominant, allowing only three hits in five scoreless innings as he left the second game with a 1-0 lead. Green (2-1) allowed an infield single to Dansby Swanson with two outs in the sixth before giving up Freeman’s homer, an opposite-field shot over the 385-foot mark in left field.
Mets 5, Marlins 4
Indians 6, Twins 3
Tigers 7, Cubs 6
Phillies 3, Nationals 2
White Sox 10, Pirates 3
Athletics 3, Rangers 1