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7th heaven as Blue Jays beat Diamondbacks 7-2 | Globalnews.ca

TORONTO – A pivotal big offensive late-game inning was absent for the most part from the Toronto Blue Jays outings before the all-star break.

But that was not the case in their return to action on Friday when Matt Chapman and Whit Merrifield delivered run-scoring hits to spearhead a five-run seventh inning in the Blue Jays’ 7-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The victory against the visiting Diamondbacks (52-40) was Toronto’s sixth in seven games and improved the Blue Jays’ (51-41) interleague record to 17-7 this year.

“Excellent,” was how Vladimir Guerrero Jr. described his team’s first game back after he, Bo Bichette, Whit Merrifield, starting pitcher Kevin Gausman and closer Jordan Romano participated in the all-star game in Seattle on Tuesday and rejoined their teammates for the second half of the schedule.

“We want to continue to play with the same intensity that we showed [on Friday],” Guerrero added through an interpreter.

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Fresh off from winning the Home Run Derby on Monday, Guerrero provided his team with a good start, opening the second inning with a solo shot to left centre for his 14th home run.

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Chapman followed up Guerrero’s shot with a single and scored on Kevin Kiermaier’s sacrifice fly to centre field to a two-run lead. But the visitors fought back to tie the game 2-2.

Ketel Marte opened the fourth inning with a double and later scored. Former Blue Jays catcher Gabriel Moreno blasted his third homer, a one-out shot to right centre field in the seventh.

The Blue Jays helped their cause by catching the usual sharp base-running Diamondbacks off guard.

Toronto apprehended Geraldo Perdomo in a run-down when he slipped rounding second. Chapman sprinted to third base to take a throw from starter Jose Berrios as Corbin Carroll’s steal attempt went awry.

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But after Moreno’s blast, the Blue Jays answered with their big offensive inning in the three-game series opener.

Chapman knocked in a run with a two-out double down the left-field line for his third hit in a 16-hit evening for Toronto.

Merrifield followed with a two-run scoring single to right for his second hit of the game. A throwing error from second baseman Marte sent Merrifield home.

Brandon Belt began the inning with a fielder’s choice RBI to score Kiermaier, who led off the inning with a double to left field.

Lead-off batter George Springer, hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second in the seventh, made a hard slide into second to break up a possible double play that would have ended the inning.

“That Springer slide was an underrated part of that inning,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

Guerrero enjoyed a two-hit game and scored twice.

In the second inning, Chapman followed Guerrero’s solo shot with a single. He advanced to third on Merrifield’s infield hit and Marte’s first error on Daulton Varsho’s grounder.

Berrios lasted 5 ⅓ innings and yielded a run on seven hits with seven strikeouts and a walk. Reliever Trevor Richards (1-1) replaced Berrios but gave up a one-out home run to Moreno.

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Arizona starter Ryne Nelson pitched 5 ⅔ innings. He gave up two runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.

Diamondbacks reliever Kyle Nelson (4-2) took the loss, giving up the first Blue Jays run in the seventh.

PURPLE HAZE

Guerrero and the 38,617 at Rogers Centre gave Lourdes Gurriel Jr. a warm reception upon his first plate appearance in the second inning.

Gurriel doffed his cap to show off his wild purple-coloured hair to acknowledge the Blue Jays faithful. Guerrero joined in the applause from his first-base position before Gurriel ripped a fly ball nabbed at the centre-field wall by Kiermaier.

Gurriel and Moreno were traded to Arizona for Varsho last December.

ON DECK

Gausman (7-5) will face Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen (11-3) in the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press




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