Max Scherzer gave up a grand slam and a solo shot by Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. for four of the seven runs (5 ER) that the Toronto Blue Jays put up on the Washington Nationals’ ace in his five innings of work in the series opener in Dunedin, Florida’s TD Ballpark. Guerrero’s hit his third home run of the game off Kyle Finnegan in the seventh inning of what ended up a 9-5 win for the home team.
Scherzer vs the Jays: In his last three outings before tonight’s, Max Scherzer, who gave up four runs on four solo home runs in his 2021 debut, had limited opposing teams to one run on nine hits in 19 IP (0.47 ERA, .141/.203/.188 line against), with scoreless appearances in his previous two starts.
“He’s one of the best,” manager Davey Martinez said after Scherzer tossed six scoreless in D.C. last week. “And he knows what he needs to do.”
“He had a rough go the first inning, and then you could see him settling down a little bit, and by the time we took him out he was really good.”
Scherzer struck out nine of the 23 batters he faced in that outing. Tonight, taking on the Blue Jays, the right-hander took the mound with a streak of 17-straight scoreless innings going, and stretched it to 19 before he ran into trouble in the home-half of the third, with back-to-back, one-out singles, and a base-loading walk in front of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., whose grand slam on a 2-1 slider put the Jays on top, 4-3, after the Nationals jumped up early.
Joe Panik doubled to start the Blue Jays’ fourth and took third one out later on a pop-up behind second that Josh Harrison lost in the wind, and the ball bounced off his glove and right by right fielder Yadiel Hernández, allowing Panik to score while Alejandro Kirk, who popped it up, took third base and then scored on a sac fly, 6-3.
Guerrero got Scherzer again in the fifth, taking a 3-2 fastball for a ride to center for a solo shot that made it 7-3 Jays.
Video Game Vlad does it AGAIN pic.twitter.com/1BrP4I2muK— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2021
Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 86 P, 54 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
Thornton vs the Nats: Trent Thornton made his first “start” of the season last time out on the mound, as part of a parade of pitchers who combined to hold the Boston Red Sox to just three runs on 10 hits.
Thornton, 27, tossed two scoreless to start that game, giving up two hits in a 25-pitch effort before the Jays went with the next arm out of the bullpen.
“We’re giving them everything we’ve got on bullpen days,” Thornton said, as quoted on MLB.com.
“You’re getting a bunch of different looks. We’re in a good spot right now, throwing a lot of strikes and commanding out pitches. We’re doing what needs to be done.”
Three pitches in tonight, Thornton and the Jays were trailing 1-0, after Trea Turner hit an 0-2 curve out to left field in TD Ballpark for a 1-0 Nationals’ lead.
Turner got the Jays’ right-hander again in the third, hitting a 2-2 cutter out to left-center and off the scoreboard beyond the outfield wall for his 2nd of the game and 6th of the year, 2-0.
That was it for Thornton...
Trent Thornton’s Line: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 42 P, 26 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
Turne(d) Around: Trea Turner got hit in the left elbow in the series finale with the New York Mets in Citi Field on Sunday, so there was some question about whether he would be good to go in the series opener in the Blue Jays’ temporary home.
But before tonight’s game, skipper Davey Martinez said Turner was in the lineup.
“I talked to him this morning. He’s still a little tender, but he said he feels fine,” Martinez said.
“He was getting treatment. He’s going to go out and take batting practice. But he said he’s good to go, so he’ll be in the lineup tonight.”
Turner was in the lineup, and after two at bats was 2 for 2 with two home runs off the Blue Jays’ opener Trent Thornton. Elbow appears okay.
He got hit in the backside in the third time up, and was not happy about it.
Bullpen Action: With Toronto going starter-by-committee tonight, former National Tommy Milone was first out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays with out in the third, and the Nationals up 2-0, and he gave up a solo homer by Yadiel Hernández, on an 86 MPH 1-2 “fast”ball that went out to left-center field for the Nationals’ third solo shot of the game, 3-0.
Milone came back out for the fourth, with a 4-3 lead, and gave up a leadoff double by Kyle Schwarber, a single by Josh Harrison, and a base-loading, one-out walk to Alex Avila before the Blue Jays went to the pen again, for Anthony Castro, who got an inning-ending, rally-killing, 4-6-3 DP out of Victor Robles.
Castro returned to the mound in the top of the fifth inning and put Turner (HBP) and Ryan Zimmerman (walk) on before he was lifted with two on and two out.
Lefty Tim Mayza came on and got out No. 3 on a liner to left off Kyle Schwarber’s bat. Still 6-3 Jays.
Joel Payamps got the sixth for Toronto and worked around a one-out single by Starlin Castro for a scoreless frame.
Kyle McGowin erased a leadoff walk one out later with an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP in a scorless bottom of the sixth.
Payamps gave up a one-out line drive single to right by Yadiel Hernández and a two-run opposite field home run by Ryan Zimmerman in the seventh before he was lifted for the Blue Jays’ sixth pitch of the game, Tyler Chatwood. Zimmerman’s 3rd, 7-5 Jays.
Kyle Finnegan surrendered a leadoff single by Cavan Biggio and a one-out, two-run home run to right by Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., whose third home run of the game made it 9-5 Jays.
THREE homers. SEVEN RBI.— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 28, 2021
He's here pic.twitter.com/IYutrypJwU
Chatwood returned for a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, and retired the Nationals in order, striking out two.
Paolo Espino worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
Rafael Dolis retired the Nationals in order in the ninth to end it...
Final Score: 9-5 Blue Jays
Nationals now 8-12