The Toronto Blue Jays showed what they can do with a full lineup Friday night, and they will try to keep it going and clinch a three-game series with the visiting Atlanta Braves on Saturday night in Dunedin, Fla.
Led by a pair of two-run blasts by catcher Alejandro Kirk, the Blue Jays hit six home runs Friday to win the series opener 13-5.
Teoscar Hernandez, playing in his first game since April 8 after testing positive for COVID-19, had two hits that included a three-run homer. Bo Bichette added a two-run homer, and Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit solo shots.
George Springer, who was 0-for-4 in his Blue Jays debut on Wednesday, reached base four times Friday on a single, two walks and catcher’s interference. He missed the first 22 games of the season with oblique and quadriceps strains.
While isolating, Hernandez had access to a hitting tee provided by the team before he was able to return to regular workouts.
“I’m not going to get the timing that I want in a couple of days,” Hernandez said. “It’s going to take time, but I feel like I’m ready to go back and find that and start to help my team.”
His timing was good enough to allow him to hit his second homer of the season with two on in the sixth inning Friday.
“It’s tough to expect them to come in and start hitting a lot, because they haven’t played in a while,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Hernandez and Springer. “But they’re healthy, that’s No. 1. The more they play, the more the lineup is going to get better. When’s that going to happen? It could be any day.”
Left-hander Travis Bergen (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will be the opener for Toronto on Saturday. He has pitched one scoreless inning this season and has never faced the Braves.
The Blue Jays designated right-hander Tanner Roark for assignment on Friday and optioned Jonathan Davis to the alternate training site.
Right-hander Charlie Morton (2-1, 4.76) will start for Atlanta on Saturday. He is 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA in seven career starts against Toronto.
The Braves also made moves Friday. They reinstated reliever Sean Newcomb (undisclosed) from the injured list and promoted reliever Edgar Santana from the alternate training site.
The Braves optioned pitcher Bryse Wilson and infielder Johan Camargo to the alternate site and transferred pitcher Mike Soroka to the 60-day IL.
The Braves acquired Santana, a 29-year-old right-hander, from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash April 9. He last appeared in a major-league game in 2018 before making his Braves debut on Friday night.
“I’ve heard a lot of really good things out of the alternate site on him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Friday before the game. “It’ll be interesting to see what he brings.”
Santana allowed one of Kirk’s homers and struck out one in the fifth inning on Friday.
Santana pitched in 69 games in relief for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018. He had a 3.26 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 12 walks in 66 1/3 innings. Tommy John elbow surgery kept him out for 2019. He was suspended for last season because of a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.
Newcomb allowed two runs, two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning on Friday.
–Field Level Media