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Guerrero's third homer gets a helping touch

Rookie's odd drive part of big day at the plate for Blue Jays batters
@gregorMLB
May 18, 2019

CHICAGO -- The Blue Jays’ offense finally exploded on Friday night, and it should come as no surprise that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. played a big role in making sure it happened -- though his biggest contribution came in weird fashion. Guerrero hit a two-run shot to straightaway center field for

CHICAGO -- The Blue Jays’ offense finally exploded on Friday night, and it should come as no surprise that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. played a big role in making sure it happened -- though his biggest contribution came in weird fashion.

Guerrero hit a two-run shot to straightaway center field for the third home run of his career in Toronto’s 10-2 victory over the White Sox. But for a brief moment, Leury Garcia appeared on the verge of pulling off a spectacular leaping catch at the wall.

Box score

Instead, the ball popped out and trickled over the fence, as Guerrero was credited with his third home run of the season; All three homers have come in Toronto's current six-game road trip through San Francisco and Chicago.

“Any time he is at the plate, you feel like he has a chance to hit a bomb, not just a home run,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Just another line drive to center. The outfielder touched it, but that ball was hit hard, so it’s hard to catch it.”

Guerrero’s home run left his bat at 104 mph, and he finished 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. After a slow start to his rookie season, MLB Pipeline’s No. 1 ranked prospect has been heating up over the last week. Despite going hitless on Wednesday and Thursday, Guerrero has seven hits over his past six games, and four of them have gone for extra bases.

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The latest shot came off White Sox right-hander Ivan Nova, who allowed nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and four walks over three-plus innings of work. Guerrero’s blast came on a 3-2 fastball, and two batters later, Nova was chased from the game.

"He's a good hitter,” Nova said of Guerrero. “I tried to not let him extend. I went in, in, in with my best pitch. It was my sinker. That pitch that he hit, it was not way in like I wanted it. He put a good swing on it."

The impressive day at the plate for Guerrero coincided with an offensive outburst for the Blue Jays. Toronto matched its season high in runs while also matching its season high in doubles with four and home runs with three. This game marked the first time this year the Blue Jays scored runs in five consecutive innings, and this came from a team that had been held to three runs or fewer in 11 of its 14 games this month.

Toronto’s 15 hits were a season high, and so were the seven extra-base hits. Some of the highlights included Billy McKinney setting a career high with four hits, including a pair of doubles. Eric Sogard, Randal Grichuk and Danny Jansen all had multiple-hit games, while Justin Smoak also chipped in with his sixth home run of the season.

“We’re a team that’s always shown we’re going to battle until the end,” said Jansen, who picked up his first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the top of the second. “We’ve always had the late-inning rallies. It does help having a night like this, but baseball is a game where the next day is a new day. We’re just going to keep batting.”

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.