By John Chidley-Hill in Toronto
Teoscar Hernandez doesn’t always grab the headlines like his Toronto Blue Jays teammates, but there’s no denying he can be an impact player.
Hernandez’s three-run homer was part of a four-run comeback as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied past the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Saturday. Toronto interim manager John Schneider said Hernandez should not be overlooked by fans or opposing teams.
“He can change the game with one swing just as much as anyone around the league,” said Schneider. “He got a mistake and didn’t miss it.”
Bo Bichette had the 200th RBI of his career for Toronto (56-45) as part of that sixth-inning rally. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also drove in a run.
Schneider said that Hernandez’s reliability has impressed him over the past two seasons.
“He’s under the radar,” said Schneider. “He’s not a big, big name like we have in our lineup but he’s just been really consistent.”
Ross Stripling allowed five hits for two runs, striking out five over 4 1/3 innings. Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards (3-0), Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano came on in relief, with Romano earning his 23rd save of the season.
Riley Greene had an RBI double for Detroit (41-61), with Jonathan Schoop and Kody Clemens also bringing home runners.
Drew Hutchison allowed two hits and three walks for one run over five innings with three strikeouts. Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Hutchison could have stayed in longer but he had a slight ankle sprain.
Reliever Derek Law (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs. Angel De Jesus and Jose Cisnero combined for two scoreless innings.
Hutchison, who played for Toronto in 2012, 2014 and 2015, has the best winning percentage at Rogers Centre among pitchers with at least 20 starts there. His no decision maintained his .750 win percentage (21-7), better than Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roy Halladay’s .712 (84-34), among others.
“I’ve had pretty good success in this building,” said Hutchison, who added that his time with the Blue Jays felt like “a few lifetimes ago.”
“I’m just trying to go out there and help our team win and pitch well and put my best foot forward.”
Gurriel’s single in the first inning scored Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for a 1-0 Toronto lead. Guerrero was in scoring position after stealing second. It was the big first baseman’s second stolen base on three attempts this season.
Schneider has encouraged his players — even huskier players like Guerrero — to be more aggressive on the basepaths since taking over from Charlie Montoyo on July 13. Both of Guerrero’s stolen bases have come since the managerial change.
Stripling got into trouble in the fifth, giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning, bringing Schoop to the plate. Stripling bounced a pitch off the bottom of Schoop’s bat and the Toronto starter fielded the ball, throwing it to third baseman Matt Chapman for a seeming forceout and then Chapman relayed it to first for a double play.
But the Tigers challenged the play and after video review officials ruled that Stripling’s pitch had hit Schoop’s hands, not the knob of his bat. That gave Schoop a free pass to first base and negated the out at third.
“It was overturned pretty quickly so I feel like there must have been something that they saw that was obvious it was a finger,” Stripling said after watching a couple of replays in the clubhouse. “Maybe I missed the one that they were looking at because it looked like knob all the way, sounded like knob.
“I mean, it came all the way back to me right? It’s not like it just died in the box there.”
Clemens then hit a sacrifice fly that scored Eric Haase, ending Stripling’s outing. Greene followed that up with his RBI double, scoring Robbie Grossman for a 2-1 Detroit lead.
Schoop tacked on another run in the next inning, with his single giving Jeimer Candelario time to run home from second.
Toronto rallied in the bottom of the sixth to re-take the lead.
Bichette hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, scoring George Springer. That brought Hernandez to the plate for the climactic homer that also scored Guerrero and Gurriel.
THORNTON UP — Right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton was recalled from triple-A Buffalo by the Blue Jays earlier Saturday. Righty Max Castillo was optioned to Buffalo in a corresponding move.
CLEMENS RETURN — Clemens made his Rogers Centre debut for Detroit on Saturday. The son of pitching great Roger Clemens was an infant when his father won the Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher for the Blue Jays in 1997 and 1998.
UP NEXT — José Berríos (7-4) will take the mound for Toronto in its series finale against Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers will counter with Garrett Hill (1-2).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2022.
Feature image – Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Teoscar Hernandez reacts after hitting a three-run home run, scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. against the Detroit Tigers in the sixth inning of American League baseball action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Saturday, July 30, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker.