Blue Jays 4 Athletics 2
TORONTO — Brandon Drury hit a two-run walkoff homer to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night in the big-league debut of top-ranked prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Guerrero started the rally with a double down the right-field line for his first career base hit. Alen Hanson came on as a pinch-runner and moved to third on Billy McKinney’s sacrifice bunt.
After a Teoscar Hernandez lineout, Drury belted a pitch off Yusmeiro Petit (0-1) over the wall for his third homer of the season.
Toronto (12-14), which ended a two-game mini-skid, has won eight of its last 12 games. The Athletics (14-14) fell back to the .500 mark by dropping the opener of the three-game series.
Toronto starter Marcus Stroman allowed one hit over seven innings but didn’t factor in the decision after Joe Biagini gave up a two-run homer to Oakland pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman in the eighth.
Stroman struck out seven batters and issued two walks over his 97-pitch outing, lowering his earned-run average to a sparkling 1.43.
Guerrero, who was given a standing ovation when he came to bat in the second inning, was 1-for-4 on the night. He batted fifth in the lineup and played third base.
Gates opened early at Rogers Centre so fans could take in batting practice. With his father — Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. — watching behind the cage and loads of media on hand, the 20-year-old Guerrero belted a ball off a 300-level window above the fence in left field.
Eric Sogard’s first career leadoff homer gave Toronto a 1-0 lead but Oakland starter Mike Fiers retired the next three batters in order to set Guerrero up to lead off in the second.
With the 28,688 fans in attendance hanging on every pitch, Guerrero worked a 2-2 count before grounding out to first base.
The Blue Jays added a run in the third inning as Danny Jansen scored on a Randal Grichuk two-out single.
Stroman, meanwhile, cruised through the first three innings before giving up a leadoff single to Marcus Semien in the fourth. Guerrero’s first defensive play came later in the frame and it was a beauty.
He short-hopped a ball on the run and made a crisp throw to first base to retire Stephen Piscotty for the second out. Stroman followed up by striking out Khris Davis.
Fans rose from their seats again when Guerrero led off in the bottom half of the frame.
The Montreal native put a charge into the building by belting a 3-1 pitch to deep left field but Chad Pinder made a nice leaping catch against the wall. Guerrero flew out to deep right-centre field in the sixth.
Pinder hit a two-out double in the ninth inning off Ken Giles (1-1) but the Toronto closer responded by striking out Jurickson Profar.
Fiers allowed six hits and two earned runs over seven innings.
Toronto outhit Oakland 8-5. The game took two hours 50 minutes to play.
Notes: Davis struck out swinging four times for the golden sombrero. … McKinney jumped into the first row of seats in an unsuccessful attempt to catch a foul ball in the first inning. … Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.77 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon against southpaw Brett Anderson (3-1, 3.04). … Pro wrestler Gail Kim of Impact Wrestling threw out the ceremonial first pitch.