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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drives in six runs to lift Blue Jays past Yankees 9-3

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drives in six runs to lift Blue Jays past Yankees 9-3

TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Doesn’t see himself as the leader of the Toronto Blue Jays club, but his recent good run is certainly an example for him.

TORONTO – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t see himself as the leader of the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse, but his recent success certainly leads by example.

Guerrero hit a two-run homer and drove in four more runs with a pair of doubles as Toronto came back with a 9-3 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday. Guerrero has driven in 19 runs on 14 hits over the past six games, but has been reluctant to call himself the Blue Jays’ catalyst.

“I don’t see myself as the leader of the team, it’s more that I take it personally,” Guerrero said through translator Hector Lebron. “Every day I try to do something good and find a way to help my team win some games.

“But it’s something that comes from within myself, not because I think I’m a leader.”

Alejandro Kirk had two runs batted in with a double and a single as Toronto (38-44) shook off a 16-5 loss the night before. Isiah Kiner-Falefa went 4-for-5 and scored three runs, adding an RBI.

“We trust each other every day, no matter the situation,” Guerrero said.

Chris Bassitt (7-6) limited the Yankees to one unearned run on six hits and two walks, striking out eight in six innings. It was an impressive performance after he took a sharp comebacker off Yankees slugger Aaron Judge’s forearm in the first inning.

“I knew I could stay in the game right away,” said Bassitt, who had an X-ray taken between the first and second inning. “I just wasn’t so sure about the inning after that and the inning after that.

Bassitt put on a compression sleeve after the X-ray and worked with the team’s trainers between each inning to control inflammation and pain.

“Of course, these things get a little bit trickier,” he said. “We’ve just done enough to get by.”

Brendon Little, Zach Pop of Brampton, Ont., and Jose Cuas, in his Blue Jays debut, came in relief.

Austin Wells hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning for New York (53-32), while Judge hit an RBI single in the fifth.

Nestor Cortes (4-7) lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out five. Jake Cousins, Phil Bickford, Caleb Ferguson and Clay Holmes came out of the Yankees’ bullpen.

Kiner-Falefa singled and reached with one out in the first inning. In the next at bat, Guerrero launched a Cortes changeup to 410 feet for his 13th homer of the season.

Kirk scored another run in the fourth inning when he doubled over the first-base line. That was enough to cash in Justin Turner from second base for a 3-0 lead for Toronto. It was the light-hitting Kirk’s 17th RBI of the season and pushed his batting average above .200.

Rechter answered for the Yankees in the fifth, scoring Volpe from third. Volpe had reached on a throwing error by Blue Jays third baseman Ernie Clement.

A five-run rally in the sixth inning gave Toronto a big lead over the visitors.

Kirk knocked in another run when his single gave George Springer time to trot home. Kiner-Falefa kept the runs in four hitters later with a two-out single that scored pinch-hitter Daulton Varsho for a 5-1 lead for the Blue Jays.

Guerrero was next and he doubled to send home Kirk, Bo Bichette and Kiner-Falefa to the delight of the 37,448 at Rogers Centre. It was the 800th hit of Guerrero’s career. He is the eighth-fastest player in Blue Jays history to reach the milestone, doing so in 742 games.

“It was a normal hit for me, to be honest,” Guerrero said. “I saw it as a 1-1 game, because you never know.

“Baseball is like that, especially these guys. They can come back at any moment.”

Kiner-Falefa and Guerrero combined for another Toronto run in the eighth. Kiner-Falefa was on first with a two-out hit when Guerrero doubled again and easily slid home for a 9-1 Blue Jays lead.

Wells added to that in the ninth inning by hitting a Cuas sweeper to deep right field. His third home run of the year also scored Gleyber Torres.

ON DECK – A potential pitchers’ duel concludes the four-game series Sunday when Toronto’s Kevin Gausman (6-6) takes on New York’s Gerritt Cole (0-1).

It will be Cole’s second start of the season after winning the American League Cy Young Award as the league’s best pitcher in 2023.

Gausman finished third in last year’s Cy Young voting.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press