Clutch Jansen plays hero as Blue Jays earn walk-off win in series opener against Cubs
Toronto catcher registers 4 RBIs, including game-winning single in 11th inning
Danny Jansen, the ninth hitter in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup, has turned into a late-game RBI machine.
The Blue Jays (69-58) won for only the third time in their last 10 home games, this time before 26,473 fans at Rogers Centre. They were swept by the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game weekend set.
"It was a tough weekend, but we turned the page with a new series," Jansen said.
"On any given night, I'm just trying to go out there and compete and do what I can to help the team win. Tonight, it happened a homer and a walk-off."
🗣 GO D.J., THAT'S OUR D.J. 🗣 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WALKOFF?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WALKOFF</a> <a href="https://t.co/I4qnOcZ3ns">pic.twitter.com/I4qnOcZ3ns</a>—@BlueJays
Last Thursday, Jansen smacked a sixth-inning solo shot that put the Blue Jays ahead 5-4 in Boston, a game they eventually won 6-5 in 10 innings.
"He's streaky like us," interim Toronto manager John Schneider said of his catcher.
"We love what he does behind the plate. He's a leader with the pitching staff, and if he gets hits like that, it's a bonus."
The D.J. just made things LOUD! <a href="https://t.co/MVd3nq3zH7">pic.twitter.com/MVd3nq3zH7</a>—@BlueJays
Down 4-0, the Blue Jays' comeback began in the seventh inning when Jansen smacked a three-run homer to left field for his 11th of the season.
They tied the game an inning later. Cavan Biggio belted a double down the right-field line and scored on Matt Chapman's single to left.
Chappy's CLUTCH 💪 <a href="https://twitter.com/mattchap6?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mattchap6</a> <a href="https://t.co/x2U4icGXXS">pic.twitter.com/x2U4icGXXS</a>—@BlueJays
The Cubs (55-74) grabbed an early 2-0 lead with runs in the third and fourth inning. Catcher Wilson Contreras knocked in Alfonso Rivas with a fielder's choice groundout in the third, and Seiya Suzuki scored on Nico Hoerner's single to left in the fourth.
P.J. Higgins' pinch-hit double to the gap in left centre scored another two runs in the sixth inning.
Blue Jays improve defensively
The Blue Jays exhibited better defence than their weekend series against the Angels.
Centre-fielder George Springer made a diving catch in the fourth inning off Rafael Ortega. Right-fielder Ramiel Tapia threw out Franmil Reyes as he tried to go from first to third on a single in the fifth inning.
Also, in the fifth, after Ian Happ struck out but forced a throw to first after the ball hit the dirt, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. returned a throw to Jansen to get Nick Madrigal racing in from third.
Reliever Tim Mayza gave up the double to Higgins, but Berrios was responsible for the two runners who scored.
Cubs 25-year-old starter Javier Assad pitched five shutout innings, surrendering four hits with two walks and a strikeout in his second career start.
Blue Jays reliever Jimi Garcia (3-4) snatched the win, while Mark Leiter Jr. (2-6) took the loss.