Blue Jays hope offense remains on track vs. Guardians

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The Toronto Blue Jays regained their hitting form Saturday and will aim to continue the trend Sunday afternoon in the finale of their three-game series with the visiting Cleveland Guardians.

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The Blue Jays evened the series at a game apiece with an 8-3 victory Saturday. Rookie Davis Schneider led the way with a two-run homer in going 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs and three runs.

The teams have split six games in their season series.

Toronto is scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (9-4, 3.52 ERA) on Sunday. In four career starts against Cleveland, he is 0-2 with a 1.67 ERA.

The Guardians are scheduled to go with right-hander Noah Syndergaard (2-6, 6.42). Syndergaard, a former Blue Jays prospect, is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four career games (three starts) against Toronto.

Schneider hit his home run in the Blue Jays‘ three-run first inning Saturday after the Guardians had scored once.

“That’s a huge spot,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “They scored first and then … we came back with a two-out, two-run homer. That’s kind of what we’ve been missing. It was a great day. … Was definitely a spark. We needed that.”

Schneider had not played in a week before his start at second base on Saturday.

“You just have to put in the work every day. It’s hard, but you’ve just got to make the most of it,” the infielder said. “You want to go out there and try to do your best. … It was pretty cool today to do what I did.”

It was the fourth home run Schneider has hit since his promotion from Triple-A Buffalo. He joined Carlos Delgado (five homers in 1994) as the only players in franchise history with at least four home runs in their first 10 major league games.

Schneider started Saturday against left-hander Logan Allen but has earned another start on Sunday against a right-handed starter.

“I’ve been saying for the whole year, ‘We try to find the right spots for everyone,'” said John Schneider, who is no relation to Davis Schneider. “And with 32 games left now, performance definitely matters within that equation as well. So yeah, I mean, it’s not too tough when you’re doing what he’s doing.”

The Blue Jays tried to help the Guardians, who loaded the bases in the sixth on a single and two Toronto errors on ground balls. Yimi Garcia replaced Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu and hit his first batter to force in a run and cut the lead to 5-3. Garcia struck out the next three batters.

“That was a big inning,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “It looked like Toronto was trying to implode. A couple of errors and a hit by pitch and we only got one.”

Jose Ramirez hit his 20th homer of the season for Cleveland and Tyler Freeman hit his first career home run.

“It’s cool,” Freeman said. “I made my debut last year, and always the next step is hitting your first home run. It took a little longer than usual. It was nice to get it out of the way. To see your teammates jump up and down for me. The first voice I heard was Kwanie’s (Steven Kwan).”

The Guardians have lost 18 of their past 27 games.

—Field Level Media

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