TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., hit a solo homer and starter Ross Stripling threw four shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Guerrero opened the scoring by belting a 2-2 pitch from Oakland starter Daulton Jefferies (0-1) in the first inning. The Toronto slugger, who also singled and reached on a walk, leads the major leagues with five homers on the season.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Raimel Tapia and Zack Collins also had two hits apiece as the Blue Jays (5-3) took the opener of the three-game series.
Closer Jordan Romano worked a clean ninth inning for his fifth save in five chances.
Tapia gave Toronto a 2-0 lead in the second inning when he scored from first base on a Santiago Espinal double to the left-field corner. The speedy Tapia easily beat the throw home with a head-first slide.
Stripling retired the first seven Athletics in order before giving up a double to Kevin Smith. A groundout and lineout left him stranded.
Oakland pinch-hitter Chad Pinder drove in the Athletics’ only run in the sixth inning.
Tim Mayza gave up a pair of singles before being replaced by Adam Cimber (3-0) with one out. Pinder greeted the sidearmer with a single that scored Tony Kemp.
Pinder later stole second to put two runners in scoring position but Cimber got Seth Brown on a pop-up to end the threat.
The Blue Jays tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the frame. Espinal was intentionally walked ahead of Collins, who singled to plate Gurriel from third.
Gurriel was at it again in the seventh when he drove in George Springer, who led off the inning with a double.
Stripling allowed two hits, had three strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. The right-hander, who was on a pitch count, threw 40 of his 62 pitches for strikes.
Jefferies, meanwhile, gave up two earned runs, seven hits, a walk and struck out a pair over 4 1/3 innings.
Toronto out-hit Oakland 11-6. Announced attendance was 35,415 and the game took three hours to play.
Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman went 0-for-2 with two walks in his first game against the Athletics since the Blue Jays acquired him from Oakland last month.
Chapman played 573 games for Oakland over five seasons.
Toronto right-hander Nate Pearson is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday as he tries to build up again after a bout of mononucleosis. He threw from 90 feet on Wednesday.
Live batting practice would be the next step if Pearson continues to progress, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said before the game.
The Athletics placed outfielder Stephen Piscotty on the COVID-19 injured list Friday while catcher Austin Allen and left-handers A.J. Puk and Kirby Snead were added to the restricted list.
Catcher Christian Bethancourt, infielder Drew Jackson and pitchers Zach Logue and Ryan Castellani were named as replacements on the active roster.
As part of the celebrations honouring the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League Baseball debut, an exhibition of artifacts from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame was on display at the north end of the stadium.
The exhibit included Negro League memorabilia, photos of Robinson and additional art. Players on both teams wore No. 42 during the game.
Toronto left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 16.20 ERA) makes his second start of the season for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. The Athletics will turn to right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-0, 0.00).
Ryu was tagged for six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in a 12-6 loss to the Texas Rangers last weekend.
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