TORONTO – Charlie Montoyo thought the swing that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. put on a ball that was well outside the strike zone on Friday night looked familiar.
The result was something he’d seen before too.
Guerrero hammered a down-and-in pitch from Wade LeBlanc deep to left field for his 14th homer of the season, helping the Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3.
“I’ve seen it before from somebody else — his dad,” Montoyo chuckled, referencing the 20-year-old’s Hall of Fame father Vlad Guerrero Sr., who was known for getting a barrel on pitches well out of the zone. “That’s what I said on the bench, man that reminded me of his dad.
“It’s amazing. Not many people can do that.”
Even Guerrero was surprised when he saw video of the home run after the game.
“I knew when I hit that ball the pitch was down but when I saw video, I don’t even know how I hit that ball,” he said through a translator. “So I guess I looked like my dad.”
Guerrero’s homer, a two-run blast, raised his RBI total to 54 on the season. He came into the game leading all rookies in hits (93), doubles (22) and extra-base hits (36), putting him into the conversation for the American League rookie of the year award.
Montoyo said Guerrero is well on his way to proving he deserves that accolade. But the young third baseman said he’s not thinking about that.
“A lot of people are calling me and letting me know about that but I’m very, very focused on the game here,” Guerrero said. “I just come here every day, work hard and help the team win and whatever happens happens.”
Randal Grichuk follower Guerrero’s drive with a solo shot of his own, marking a franchise-record 12th time this season that Toronto has hit home runs in consecutive at bats — and the third time this week.
Both connected off LeBlanc (6-7) in the third inning, giving the Blue Jays a 7-2 lead.
Toronto had tied the previous franchise-high 11, a record originally set in 1999, in a win against Texas on Tuesday. The team also went deep in back-to-back at bats against the Rangers Monday night.
Derek Fisher and Danny Jansen both added to Friday’s home run tally and Brandon Drury tacked on an RBI as Toronto (52-73) won for the fifth time in seven games.
“Hitting is contagious right? And when you have that momentum on your side anything can happen,” said Toronto starter Jacob Waguespack. “I think up and down through our lineup anybody can put the ball out of the park.”
Waguespack (4-1) allowed two runs and five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
The rookie right-hander was applauded by the crowd of 20,844 when he exited the game after giving up a one-out single to Omar Navarez in the sixth.
Matt Wisler opened the game for Seattle (50-73) with a scoreless first inning, striking out two, and LeBlanc worked the rest of the game. The 35-year-old lefty allowed seven runs and 11 hits with one walk and three strikeouts over seven innings as the Mariners lost for the 10th time in 13 games.
Tim Lopes opened the scoring with a two-run single off Waguespack in the second inning but the Blue Jays got those runs back and more in the bottom of the frame. Drury singled home Justin Smoak and Fisher followed with his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot to put Toronto up 3-2.
“That second inning took a lot out of me,” Waguespack said. “I threw a lot of pitches and for them to go and put a three-spot on the board that was amazing. … We have a good chemistry on our team and our offence is rolling and it’s fun to be out there when you’re pitching and your offence is giving you runs like that.”
Malex Smith cut Seattle’s deficit to 7-3 with an RBI single off reliever Justin Shafer in the eighth.
Blue Jays rookie sensation Bo Bichette struck out twice and had his on-base streak snapped at 17 games, the second longest for a player 21 or younger to begin a career.
“Slowly he’s going to come down, there’s no way he can keep it up,” Montoyo said of the shortstop losing his streak. “But what he did the other day, he went 0 for 4 and then followed the next day 3 for 5. So he could do the same thing tomorrow. … he’s going to be all right.”
© 2019 The Canadian Press