Jays split Saturday afternoon double-header in Cleveland as Hernandez cracks his way back into the lineup

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer

@stefanluciani_

Sunday, May 8, 2022


Final Score: 8-3 W (Game One), 8-2 L (Game Two)

CLEVELAND - It was a bittersweet afternoon for Blue Jays fans on Saturday, as the long-awaited return for one, Teoscar Hernandez, was finally on the horizon. Hernandez, who’d been on the IL since early April with an oblique strain, made his way to Cleveland to join his teammates for some double header action, after Friday evening’s game was pushed back due to weather. 

 

Hernandez, despite being back with the team, was not listed as a starter for the first, with many suspecting Toronto didn’t want to thrust the right fielder into 18 straight innings of baseball on his return. 

 

Kevin Gausman got the nod for game one, and continued to shine as the righty went 6 1/3 innings, surrendering just one run on six hits while striking out five. Gausman though, reminded baseball fans that he is indeed human, after surrendering his first walk of the season. The historic start on the campaign for the new acquisition has him in company with Cy Young himself, as the first pitcher since 1906 with five straight starts not surrendering a walk or homerun. Despite another brilliant performance on paper, Gausman was critical of his showing. “Today, I wasn’t as sharp. I didn’t feel as good as I have in the past. But I thought we did a good job of mixing it up and trying to keep them off-balance,” Gausman said. “We made good pitches, only gave up some singles and not much damage. So, in that regard, I thought we did a pretty good job considering. But I definitely wasn’t as sharp as I have been.”

 

Shane Bieber got the start opposite him and struggled to figure out a Blue Jays lineup that seemed to remember they boast one of, if not the best current lineup in the big leagues. He surrendered eight of their 10 total hits on the afternoon, allowing eight runs while striking out zero. He was pulled after just 3 1/3 innings of work.

 

Six of the starting nine hitters collected a knock in the contest with Alejandro Kirk going 3-for-4 scoring two runs, while leadoff man George Springer grabbed three RBIs for himself. 

 

Julian Merryweather closed this one out, pitching the complete final two innings to give the Jays the 8-3 win, with game two commencing almost right away.

 

Game two was a bit of a different story as the lineup once again seemed to forget how to hit. Facing Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie, Toronto only managed two runs on four hits through six innings of McKenzie’s work. The righty also sat down six for good measure. 

 

Ross Stripling went to work for the Jays, struggling more than he has in the past. He surrendered four runs on five hits while striking out just three, through his four-inning appearance.

 

The offense appeared as if they were going to carry the momentum from game one into the second, as a Bo Bichette double scored Springer to get the birds on top early in the first.

 

Cleveland answered quickly in the bottom of the frame with Owen Miller punching an RBI double to left, before Andres Gimenez scored Miller just two batters later to make it 3-1.

 

Toronto would take one back from Cleveland to pull within a run, before things started to get out of hand. Franmil Reyes would take Ross Stripling deep to left field for his third of the year, opening the floodgates for another four runs between the fifth and seventh innings. 

 

Ultimately the Jays would drop the second of the double-header 8-2. 

 

INJURY UPDATES

Blue Jays: 2B Cavan Biggio has cleared COVID-19 protocols and is expected to return to the roster sometime next week. The infielder will participate in a short stint with Triple-A Buffalo before making his way back to the bigs.

 

Guardians: No new updates. 

 

LOOK AHEAD

With the Saturday evening loss, the Blue Jays can only hope for a series split with the Guardians following their first series loss to a red-hot Yankees team in Toronto. Alek Manoah (4-0, 1.45 ERA) looks to grab his fifth win of the season going against Cleveland rookie Konnor Pilkington (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Toronto will hope to salvage what they can and avoid dropping their second straight series, before getting their first day off since April 19th. First pitch goes at 1:40pm ET.