José Berríos stopped his three-start winless streak, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in three runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays celebrated Canada Day back at home by beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2.
Playing at home on Canada’s national holiday for the first time since 2019, and dressed in special red jerseys and caps, the Blue Jays delighted a crowd of 44,445 by winning for the fourth time in five games.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 3 for 3 with a solo home run and also walked. Cavan Biggio was 2 for 2 with two doubles and two walks, and also scored twice. Seven of Toronto’s 11 hits were for extra bases.
After allowing 14 earned runs over his previous two starts, Berríos gave up two runs and eight hits in five innings to earn his first victory since June 10 at Kansas City. Berríos (6-4) is 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA in seven home starts, but 2-4 with a 7.92 ERA in nine road starts.
Trent Thornton worked the sixth, former Rays reliever Sergio Romo made his Toronto debut with a scoreless seventh, and Max Castillo pitched the final two innings.
Aroldis Chapman returns for Yankees, role still to be determined
The Yankees reinstated Aroldis Chapman from the injured list after he missed more than a month with tendinitis in his left Achilles tendon.
Chapman, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 22, was 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA and nine saves in 17 games. The 34-year-old was placed on the IL on May 24.
Before the Yankees opener of a three-game series against the Guardians was rained out, manager Aaron Boone reiterated he’ll initially use the lefty in a variety of roles — that could be in the middle innings, late or to close.
Boone said the goal is to get Chapman comfortable.
“I want to get him in a really good place to where he’s pitching somewhat regularly and especially here to start, whatever that situation is, whether it’s low leverage or medium leverage or it could be high leverage because it’s what the game dictates,” Boone said. “He could be closing because the game dictates it.”
Even when Chapman is ready, it’s unlikely he’ll take over the primary closing duties from Clay Holmes, who has been virtually unhittable in that role this season. The righthander is 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 14 saves in 35 games, and his 82.4 percent ground-ball rate is first among pitchers with 100 or more plate appearances against them.
The Guardians have already played five doubleheaders at home, and a sixth is scheduled for Progressive Field on Saturday following Friday’s rainout.
Max Scherzer gets back on the Mets schedule, in line to pitch Tuesday
Max Scherzer is scheduled to return to the New York Mets’ rotation Tuesday in Cincinnati after missing over a month with a strained left oblique muscle.
“If you look at the timeframe of this injury over the course of a lot of history, you look at other people with this injury and what’s the usual timeline, he’s met all the criteria,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said before Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and New York beat Texas, 4-3, to stop a season-high three-game losing streak.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner made a pair of rehab starts in Double A, including 80 pitches Wednesday. Scherzer also threw 65 pitches on June 20.
“I have a much better grasp on what this is,” Scherzer said. “I definitely crossed that six week timeline so you feel a lot more confident. You feel it’s starting to get in my rear-view mirror.”
After signing a $130 million, three-year contract, baseball’s highest average salary, Scherzer is 6-2 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts during his first season with the Mets. He last pitched in the majors against St. Louis on May 18.
Juan Soto acknowledges back and forth with Nationals on extension
Asked about his future and ongoing negotiations following a reported $425 million contract offer from the Nationals, Juan Soto told the Washington Post that “we’re going back and forth, and I feel good about that. They are talking to my agent, and I have nothing to do with it. He is just talking to them and I want to play baseball.” Soto entered Friday hitting .224/.375/.437 — all career lows following his first All-Star appearance last season. Soto has expressed an interest in testing free agency when he is eligible after the 2024 season . . . Darick Hall’s tiebreaking home run was his third homer since being called up, and Rhys Hoskins went deep to add an insurance run, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and Nolan Arenado, who hit for the cycle for the second time in his career. It was the fifth cycle across the majors in the last 52 days, according to Stats, the shortest such span since 1890 . . . Max Fried (8-2) won his eighth straight decision, Austin Riley put Atlanta ahead to stay in the first inning with his team-high 19th home run, and the Braves routed the Reds, 9-1. Atlanta is 22-6 since the start of June, and Fried is 8-0 in 14 starts since losing his first two outings this season . . . Vinnie Pasquantino and Hunter Dozier hit back-to-back homers, leading Brad Keller and the Kansas City Royals over the Detroit Tigers, 3-1. Playing his third game in majors, Pasquantino was 0 for 6 overall when he hit Michael Pineda’s first pitch of the fourth inning to deep right. The ball hit the top of the fence, bounced off a railing and back onto the field. Thinking the ball was in play, Pasquantino tried to get a double out of it, but Javy Baez took Willi Castro’s throw and tagged the rookie as he slid into the bag. The Tigers shortstop then told Pasquantino to get up and enjoy the last half of his home-run trot . . . The major league batting average was .242 in June, down from .245 in May, and home runs are down 9 percent from last season at this point, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Home runs averaged 1.07 per team per game, down from 1.18 at this point last season, with both strikeouts (8.33 versus 8.89) and walks (from 3.32 to 3.12) also declining from a similar point last season . . . Derek Jeter’s first significant hire when he was leading the Miami Marlins, Gary Denbo, is no longer with the club. The former team vice president of player development and scouting, and one of the Hall of Fame player’s mentors when he was a shortstop for the New York Yankees, was let go earlier this week. Jeter left the Marlins in February after 4½ years as CEO and one of the shareholders in the ownership group.