Hernandez's late bomb makes up for base-running gaffe in Jays' win over Twins

Teoscar Hernandez hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning, giving the Toronto Blue Jays a badly needed offensive boost with three hits in a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.

Toronto outfielder smashes 3-run homer in 8th inning after early mistake

Toronto's Socrates Brito, left, congratulates teammate Teoscar Hernandez on a three-run home run in the eighth inning of the Blue Jays' 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Teoscar Hernandez had quite the blooper for Toronto on the basepath, a lapse in focus that could have proved costly.

Two innings later, he more than made up for the mistake.

Hernandez hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth, giving the Blue Jays a badly needed offensive boost with three hits in a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

"You forget about things like that when you do things good for the team," Hernandez said.

After his one-out single in the sixth inning with the Blue Jays trailing 3-1 against Martin Perez, Brandon Drury dropped his shin guard and began jogging to first base after drawing what he believed was a walk.

But it was only ball three. Hernandez left for second, prompted by Drury's advancement, and Perez alertly threw to C.J. Cron at first base to complete the unconventional caught stealing before Hernandez could retreat.

"I think I was a little distracted. I know that can't happen," Hernandez said. "I know the situation, the count and everything. It was a bad moment."

The 26-year-old left fielder, who had a breakout 2018 season with 22 home runs in his first crack at being an everyday player in the major leagues, sent an 0-2 slider from Adalberto Mejia (0-1) into the second deck for a 5-3 lead .

"The last couple of games, I've been hitting the ball harder," Hernandez said. "That's a good sign. I've been seeing a lot of pitches."

After Perez finished six innings in his first start for the Twins with only one run allowed and Ryne Harper struck out two batters in a perfect seventh, left-hander Adalberto Mejia was summoned for the eighth with all righties due up for the Blue Jays. Freddy Galvis greeted Mejia with a single, Randal Grichuk doubled for his third hit of the game, and Justin Smoak hit an RBI single to bring up Hernandez. Mejia went to two strikes three of those four batters.

"It's not like he did anything but just not put the hitters away, and that's something that we're going to have to do," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Season-high 11 hits

After Hernandez saved starter Matt Shoemaker from his first loss with his new team, Joe Biagini pitched a perfect ninth for his first save. The Blue Jays, who won for only the fourth time in the last 14 games and entered the evening in the bottom five in most American League batting categories, had a season-high 11 hits.

Sam Gaviglio (1-0) picked up the victory with a scoreless seventh.

Shoemaker was one of only five pitchers in franchise history to win his first three starts with the Blue Jays, whom he signed with after five-plus years with the Los Angeles Angels and major forearm trouble over the last two seasons. The right-hander gave up four hits and four walks while striking out four.

Jorge Polanco had three hits and raised his batting average to .420 for the Twins, who took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning on Cron's three-run homer off Shoemaker but fell to 4-2 at home this season.

Perez worked out of the bullpen to start the season because the Twins wound up with six days off in the first 16 days of their schedule, including one weather postponement. He gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out five.


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