Blue Jays use historic Opening Day comeback to beat Rangers | Sports News

By IAN HARRISON, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Finally back for Opening Day — and to a packed house, at that — the Toronto Blue Jays tapped into their mighty offense for the biggest opener comeback of the season in more than seven decades.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled into the starting spot in the seventh inning and the Blue Jays erased a seven-run deficit to beat the Texas Rangers 10-8 on Friday night.

“We never panic,” Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernández said. “We know what we are capable of and we trust each other.”

For the first time since the pandemic, a crowd of 45,022 gathered to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Jays in Toronto. They erupted when a video review ruled Hernández beat catcher Mitch Garver’s tag at home plate on Gurriel’s brace, giving Toronto a 9-8 lead after leading 7-0.

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“I felt like I put my feet in stone and he marked me on top, but it was very close,” Hernández said. ” I would not know how to say it. Fortunately, I am safe. There is no better moment in a game like this.

Even though shortstop Corey Seager’s relay pitch beat Hernández to the plate, Rangers manager Chris Woodward didn’t fault Garver for not bringing down the tag sooner.

“If he had attacked that ball, it might have been hard to catch, so he secured the baseball first,” Woodward said. “It was a thumbs up, out or safe. I think he did a very good job. »

The last team to win its opener after trailing by at least seven points was the 1950 New York Yankees, who trailed 9-0 and then beat Boston 15-10 at Fenway Park, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only other team to overcome a seven-point deficit in its season opener was the 1901 Detroit Tigers, who erased a 10-point deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 14-13.

Blue Jays right-hander Adam Cimber (1-0) pitched an inning for the win despite Adolis García’s tying home run in the seventh. Yimi Garcia worked the eighth and Jordan Romano finished for his first save.

Gurriel’s winning shot came from Rangers right-hander Dennis Santana (0-1), who allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings.

Hernández hit an even three-run home run against right-hander Josh Sborz in the fifth and Danny Jansen gave the Blue Jays some confidence with a solo outburst against right-hander Greg Holland in the eighth.

Rangers chased right-hander José Berríos in the first, scoring four runs before Toronto’s No. 1 starter could register his second out, then added two more runs in the second against southpaw Tayler Saucedo on the two-run homer of Garver.

Berríos struck out just one of the seven batters he faced, allowing four runs and three hits, including Brad Miller’s first homer. Berríos walked two and hit none. He threw 34 pitches, 18 strikes, in the shortest outing of his career.

“I was trying to be too perfect, too naughty, and I didn’t throw the ball over the plate,” Berríos said.

Nataniel Lowe’s RBI single against Trent Thornton in the fourth gave Texas a 7-0 lead. Toronto scored three runs off right-hander Jon Gray in the fourth and tied on the home run two out from Hernandez.

Making his Rangers debut after seven seasons with Colorado, Gray allowed three earned runs in four innings before leaving after a blister in his middle finger opened.

“I sort of blame myself for not covering it up or doing something about it,” Gray said. “I get it. I don’t want it to get any worse. I would hate to miss the next start. I totally understand coming over there.

Santiago Espinal gave Toronto an 8-7 lead with an RBI brace over Sborz in the sixth.

Prior to the game, former Blue Jays infielder and current Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien and Guerrero and Hernández received their 2021 Silver Slugger Awards. Semien also received his Gold Glove, while Guerrero received his Hank Aaron Award from Billye Aaron, the widow of the late Hall of Fame slugger.

Texas has lost eight of its last 10 Day 1 games and 17 of 25.

Rangers: RHP Garrett Richards started the season on the 10-day injured list with a blister in his right middle finger. RHP Jonathan Hernandez (elbow surgery) and RHP José Leclerc (elbow surgery) are on the 60-day IL.

Blue Jays: Toronto has two players on the 10-day injured list to start the season. LHP Ryan Borucki is out with a strained right hamstring, while RHP Nate Pearson is ruled out with mono.

Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (14-6, 2.81 with San Francisco in 2021) makes his Toronto debut on Saturday against Rangers RHP Dane Dunning (5-10, 4.51 in 2021). Gausman last faced Rangers in 2017.

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