Guerrero Jr., Hernandez power Blue Jays over Twins in series opener
Newly-acquired Whit Merrifield has 2 hits in debut for Toronto
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a three-run homer, Teoscar Hernandez homered for the second straight day and the Toronto Blue Jays cruised to a 9-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
"I think if you can line it up, they all kind of have that damage potential," Toronto interim manager John Schneider said of his lineup with the addition of Merrifield. "But if you can get guys on base and put the ball in play like we've been preaching all year - I know we had six walks, five in the first five innings and got nothing of it - but when you put that combination of on-base and damage together, it's pretty good."
Toronto won for the 12th time in 15 games and got six effective innings from Alek Manoah.
Manoah (12-5) allowed two runs on two hits but tied a season high with four walks.
When you hit 'em 115.4 MPH, you're allowed to admire it 💥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PLAKATA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PLAKATA</a> <a href="https://t.co/uLE7seXtXl">pic.twitter.com/uLE7seXtXl</a>—@BlueJays
The first-time All-Star was hit by a comebacker for the second start in a row. He left his previous start with an elbow contusion after being hit. Thursday, he was hit in the right triceps area in the fourth inning for Minnesota's first hit but remained in the game.
"It's fine," Manoah said. "We'll see tomorrow but got me a little higher this time on the triceps."
Twins starter Sonny Gray also had a no-hitter working into the middle innings before Cavan Biggio had a two-out single in the fifth. Gray was done after five innings, giving up just one hit, but he walked a season-high five batters.
Emilio Pagan (3-5) relieved Gray and allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits in an inning.
Hernandez sent Pagan's offering to the back of the second deck in left field to start a three-run sixth. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Merrifield added RBI singles. Guerrero's 22nd homer capped a six-run eighth.
Jose Miranda had two RBIs for Minnesota on a hit-by-pitch and groundout. Jake Cave hit his first home run in his third game this season.
The COLDEST bat drop in Te' game 🥶 <a href="https://twitter.com/TeoscarH?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeoscarH</a> <a href="https://t.co/1SwfE3Tcjt">pic.twitter.com/1SwfE3Tcjt</a>—@BlueJays