Vlad Jr.'s bases-loaded walk sparks rally

Patience pays off as Toronto scores 3 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th

June 10th, 2021

Patience paid off for the normally explosive Blue Jays offense on Wednesday night. In his young career, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has provided showstopping at-bats. So, when the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the eighth inning and Guerrero stepped up to the plate with one out, it made for an enticing moment.

But Guerrero didn’t need his power to make a difference. His patience earned a walk instead and helped catapult the Blue Jays to a 6-2 win over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Once the Blue Jays pushed across the tying run, the go-ahead run crossed soon after when Teoscar Hernández’s groundout -- and a throwing error from Tim Anderson -- scored Marcus Seimen and Bo Bichette.

Toronto’s scoring was started by Randal Grichuk, who led off the second inning with a homer against Chicago’s Lance Lynn. Grichuk’s 13th homer of the season left the bat with an exit velocity of 107.4 mph, per Statcast, and traveled a projected 451 feet to left field.

Manager Charlie Montoyo didn’t want to give too much weight to the White Sox defensive miscues. He’s watched his team battle in close games and knows the Blue Jays’ presence on the basepaths was the difference-maker in the come-from-behind win.

"We made those breaks, because the way we run, we don't take for granted that we're going to be in double plays,” Montoyo said. “They were routine ground balls and Teoscar was busting his butt to first base and so did Semien, and when you do that, infielders rush a little bit and that's what happened. Credit to our guys, they didn't take it for granted that there were routine ground balls and they went all out.”

One of those guys was newcomer Riley Adams, who got the late rally going in his second career game. As the second at-bat of the eighth, he struck out against lefty Aaron Bummer, but the swinging strike bounced far enough from Chicago catcher Yasmani Grandal that Adams got to first safely.

It kept the line moving for the bases-loaded walk that Guerrero earned to even the game, and ultimately put Toronto in a better position in the AL East. Toronto sits in fourth place, six games back of first-place Tampa Bay.

The eighth inning was a far cry from the game’s earlier innings, during which the clubs found themselves in a pitchers' duel between Alek Manoah and Lance Lynn. Manoah’s five innings of two-run ball marked a positive stride in his third career start, especially against a lineup that can do damage to a baseball.

"The fastball was just able to open everything up. I threw a lot of heaters in, a lot of heaters up, and they're really aggressive,” Manoah said. “They hit the ball extremely hard. The plan was kind of just, let's throw that heater, let's kind of get them a little excited and then we'll start breaking out some breaking balls.”

Toronto’s bullpen kept the game within reach and Montoyo stressed that there was no room for error, especially after Tuesday’s game, in which the Toronto bullpen was responsible for five runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Anthony Castro set the tone Wednesday with a perfect inning in the sixth, and was followed by Tyler Chatwood, who needed 12 pitches for a scoreless seventh. Jordan Romano and Tim Mayza each contributed a scoreless frame.