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Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jays look for series win over A’s

The Toronto Blue Jays hope to win the first series of their nine-game homestand by taking the rubber match of their three-game set with the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon

After dropping the opening game Friday on their return from a 4-5 road trip, the Blue Jays bounced back with a 7-3 victory on Saturday

Danny Jansen and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. each had two-run home runs for the Blue Jays, and Jose Berrios pitched six solid innings, allowing three runs (two earned), with eight strikeouts

Toronto is scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (6-2, 3.97 ERA) on Sunday. In 10 career starts against Oakland, Kikuchi is 1-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 50 1/3 innings.

Oakland is scheduled to start rookie right-hander Luis Medina (1-6, 7.01), who will be facing the Blue Jays for the first time

Guerrero has caused a stir in the series by hitting a home run in both games. His three-run bomb on Friday was his first at home this season. His blast in the sixth inning on Saturday gave him 11 for the season, one more than Jansen.

“I’m feeling good, obviously,” Guerrero said through a club interpreter. “A lot better than two weeks ago, but that doesn’t matter. We still have to keep working, and hopefully I continue to get better.”

Guerrero’s homer on Saturday bumped Toronto’s lead to four runs, supplying the bullpen a cushion to work with.

“They all feel great,” Guerrero said. “A homer is a homer. I’m at 11 homers right now. I’m trying to enjoy it. It’s not easy to do that. So all 11 of my homers, I try to celebrate them.”

Guerrero said he is looking for the right pitch to hit and trying to avoid chasing pitches out of the zone.

“Strikes. I’m looking for strikes, not trying to chase,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero is still behind his pace from his two previous seasons. He hit 48 to lead the majors in 2022 and 32 last season.

“Hopefully (his at-ats) can stay right there,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “I thought, again, he was laying off some pitches, down and away.

Despite the insurance Guerrero provided, closer Jordan Romano was needed to get his 23rd save. He replaced Yimi Garcia, who had allowed two singles in two-thirds of an inning before leaving with a sore right knee. Romano struck out the only batter he faced.

The Blue Jays started the game Saturday with a two-run first inning against Oakland opener Shintaro Fujinami, who got only two outs before left-hander Hogan Harris took over and allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings

“(Harris) did a nice job going through that lineup and getting to a point where we felt good about taking him out,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay. “Hogan did his job today.

Fujinami performed below expectations after recording a 1.35 ERA over 6 2/3 innings in his previous six outings.

“He needs to keep hitters off balance,” Kotsay said. “He didn’t throw enough splitters today to keep them off the fastball. But he’s had some success recently. We felt great about him being out there. It just didn’t go well for him today.”

Toronto put right-hander Adam Cimber (right shoulder impingement) on the injured list Saturday and recalled right-hander Bowden Francis from Triple-A Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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