BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed up his breakout All-Star Game with two homers, and the Toronto Blue Jays powered past the Texas Rangers 10-2 on Friday night.
All-Stars Teoscar Hernandez and Marcus Semien homered for Toronto along with Randal Grichuk, and Robbie Ray held Texas scoreless over 6 2/3 innings.
Guerrero, named the All-Star MVP on Tuesday night, connected off Texas starter Jordan Lyles in the first inning to make it 1-0 and added a three-run blast in the sixth against Dennis Santana, his 30th of the season. That led to chants of ”M-V-P!” from the crowd of 10,100 as the Blue Jays opened their final stretch of games in their temporary Buffalo home. The team received approval from the Canadian government on Friday to return to Toronto for the homestand that begins July 30.
”Vladdy is one of the best players in baseball right now,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. ”He showed it in the All-Star Game and he showed it again today. He didn’t have a break. That’s what I like about going back to Toronto now: The fans get to watch one of the best players in baseball. He’s been amazing.”
Montoyo said his team was buoyed by the news of its return to Toronto.
”Everybody was smiling and everybody was happy,” Montoyo said. ”We took the momentum into the game.”
Ray (8-4), who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Sunday at Tampa Bay, allowed four hits and two walks while striking out eight. Semien, Hernandez, and Grichuk all homered in the third for the Blue Jays, who won consecutive games for the first time since July 2-3.
”I like staying on a five-day schedule,” Ray said. ”I was able to stay in my routine, and I felt really good.”
Eli White had a two-run homer in the ninth for the Rangers, who dropped their third straight and have lost six of eight. Lyles (5-6) went four innings and allowed four home runs for the second time in his career, with both instances coming in his last six appearances.
”We ran into a pretty good pitcher,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. ”He’s probably been their best guy all year. Obviously these guys are swinging the bats as well as anybody in baseball right now. We just got beat.”
Montoyo paid tribute to the city that’s hosted the Blue Jays for parts of two seasons.
”I don’t want to forget about how great Buffalo has been to us,” Montoyo said. ”The job they did to make it closer to a big-league ballpark, and the stands were full. But we’re the Toronto Blue Jays, and it’ll be great to go home and show this team to the whole nation and Toronto.”
Buffalo-born Rangers C Jonah Heim made his first appearance at Sahlen Field and had a sharp single to lead off the seventh inning.
Fans gave him a standing ovation after the hit and Heim, who played at suburban Orchard Park High School, waved to acknowledge the crowd. Heim, taken by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, had never played in the park, even in the minors.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Buffalo-born player to participate in a major league game in the city since John Gillespie, who played on Oct. 1, 1890 for the Buffalo Bisons against the Boston Reds.
Rangers: LHP John King (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to ”pick up a ball” this weekend, according to Woodward, and was likely to miss his first post-All Star Break turn in the rotation.
Blue Jays: LHP Ryan Borucki (forearm flexor strain) was activated from the injured list before the game and worked the eighth inning, allowing a leadoff single and striking out two. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated RHP Joel Payamps, who had been with Triple-A Buffalo, for assignment.
In Saturday’s middle game of the weekend series, the Rangers will send LHP Kolby Allard (2-5, 3.45 ERA) to the mound against Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (8-5, 3.56).
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