TORONTO — George Springer is back in action in time for the final stages that will decide whether the Toronto Blue Jays make the playoffs in October.
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Springer was used as the hitter of choice on the front line of the offensive lineup against the Baltimore Orioles and was encouraged by the crowd Monday night at Rogers Center. However, it was on his second round at bat, late in the third inning, that No. 4 really made his presence felt with a double.
The hit could have propelled his team forward, but the presence of Japanese starter Yusei Kikuchi on the mound for the Jays seems to have made up for that. Things should get easier for Toronto on Tuesday with Alek Manoah on the mound.
As of this writing, the Orioles lead 7-3 after six innings.
“Vlad Junior”: a 24th circle
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose 22-game hitting streak ended Sunday in a loss to the Cleveland Guardians, set the record by hitting a home run late in the fifth inning. It was Vlad Junior’s 24th long ball this season.
Regardless of the outcome of Monday night’s game, Springer’s return comes at the right time for the Jays, who lost six of their eight games during their “spark plug” absence. Remember the American had to rest his right elbow for 10 days due to an infection.
Selected for the All-Star Game this season, Springer has scored 18 goals in his first 89 games of the campaign. He also maintained a .252 trail average and .331 attendance rate.
Complicated for Kikuchi
On the mound, Kikuchi was limited to three and a third inning Monday night after allowing six runs, four of which were earned. He has a knack for making the task harder, he who has fired 80 shots and notably allowed three walks.
From the start of the game, however, the Japanese ran out of luck as Ryan McKenna was credited with a double behind the first goal after a ball hit just outside of Guerrero Jr.’s reach. A throw was attempted to pin the runner at second base, to no avail. McKenna would come along and score soon after on an Anthony Santander single. Despite needing 23 pitches to complete that first inning, Kikuchi managed to walk away with just one run allowed.
Ryan Mountcastle’s long two-run home run at his expense early in the third, however, had nothing to do with bad luck… Still in the fourth inning, just before leaving the game, a bad throw at second base, aiming for a to take runners flat-footed chasing him. As a result, the Orioles player could advance to third base, then optionally cross the payplate.
– Vladimir Guerrero Jr. delighted the crowd at Rogers Center before the game even started. He enjoyed throwing lots of balls off the field and even reaching the upper level of the stadium. It takes a good arm…