In 100th game, Vlad Jr. sets tone for win

Young star logs 30th career multihit game, drives in Blue Jays' 1st run

August 28th, 2019

TORONTO – With the spotlight remaining squarely on the team’s rookies as the Blue Jays’ season winds down into the final days of August, continues to offer insight into what the organization hopes it will only see much more of as it moves into the future.

The 20-year-old third baseman helped his team to an early advantage in the 3-1 win over the Braves in Tuesday’s series opener at Rogers Centre. Guerrero ripped the third straight Toronto single to start the bottom of the first inning, following hits from fellow rookies Bo Bichette and .

“There’s a reason why those guys are at the top of the lineup,” first baseman said. “They’re young, but they’re really good hitters, really good players. This organization’s going to be fun for a while here.”

Guerrero added his second knock of the matchup in the sixth inning, marking his 30th multihit contest in the first 100 games of his career, and his 10th such game in his past 15. The freshman slugger entered the matchup hitting .361 (43-for-119) over his past 32 games, the sixth-best mark in the Majors over that span.

“The plan I was using at the beginning of the season obviously wasn’t working for me,” Guerrero said. “Then when I got together with Guillermo [Martinez, Toronto’s hitting coach], we sat down and put it together. That’s been the biggest difference.

“The big adjustment that I’ve made is that before, I had pretty much the same plan for all pitchers and now we have a plan for each pitcher. Guillermo and I believe that’s the big difference.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s affair, the Montreal-born native of the Dominican Republic also led all American League rookies with 102 hits, 23 doubles, 39 extra-base hits and 12 games with three hits or more. After the game, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo once again made a case for Guerrero to lead the AL Rookie of the Year conversation.

“We knew he was going to get hot, and he’s getting hot right now,” Montoyo said. “He’s getting used to the league, and he knows how they’re pitching him. He’s making the adjustment, and it’s working. He’s having a good year.

“I think Vlad should get a vote just because he plays third base and he’s getting better. He’s doing a good job at third base, and he’s swinging the bat pretty well.”

Smoak added to Toronto’s early advantage, driving in Biggio with a single in the first and then padding the lead with a solo shot in the seventh. The 398-foot blast was the 32-year-old first baseman’s 20th home run, giving him that milestone for the third straight season.

“I guess 20 home runs don’t really mean that much anymore, but to me, it means a lot,” Smoak said. “I feel like I can feed off that and continue for the last month of the year.”

The offence backed an impressive showing from Toronto’s pitching staff, using seven different pitchers to secure the victory.

“The pitching was outstanding against a good lineup like that,” Montoyo said. “To get them down to just one run, our bullpen was outstanding.”