TORONTO — Soon after getting word that they’ll be spending the final two months of their season at home in Toronto, the Toronto Blue Jays put together the kind of offensive outburst that shows how interesting the stretch run will be when this lineup’s at full strength.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached the 30-homer threshold by hitting two of the Blue Jays’ five home runs as Toronto beat the visiting Texas Rangers 10-2 on a rainy night at the second of the three home sites the Jays will play at in 2021, Buffalo’s Sahlen Field.
With Robbie Ray on the mound, the Blue Jays began the unofficial second half of the season with their most effective pitcher of late, and by activating Ryan Borucki before first pitch, the bullpen got some welcome support, too. Of course on a night the offence was operating at full strength, there was plenty of breathing room.
And the best news of all arrived just before first pitch.
“You should’ve seen the faces of everyone when we first found out,” manager Charlie Montoyo said afterwards. “Even though Buffalo’s been great, Toronto’s one of the best cities in baseball for sure.”
“It was great news,” Montoyo continued. “Some of the best news of the year. And we took that into the game.”
The season Guerrero Jr. is having would be remarkable at any age, but what he’s doing — 30 homers with a .335/.434/.677 slash line — should really be appreciated within the context of his age. At 22, he’s still the sixth-youngest player in the American League.
“It was only a matter of time before he started to do this at the big-league level,” Cavan Biggio said. “He went through a big learning experience in the big-leagues, where most guys they struggle in the minor leagues, learn a lot about themselves and learn how to make adjustments. He was doing it on the biggest stage.”
After starting his career with two productive but relatively unremarkable seasons, Guerrero Jr.’s breaking out at age 22 — so young that when he homered in the All-Star Game Tuesday, he became the youngest player to do so since Johnny Bench more than half a century ago. In fact, he’s still younger than four players the Blue Jays drafted last week.
Yet here he is, making a legitimate run at the American League triple crown. That might be what it takes to make a serious MVP run during a year Shohei Ohtani is doing a convincing impression of Babe Ruth in his prime, but so far Guerrero Jr. has been up to the task. Nights like this, the talent is impossible to miss.
“He’s one of the best players in baseball,” Montoyo said. “He showed it in the All-Star Game and he’s showing it again today. He didn’t really have a break. He flew to Colorado, did all the stuff he needed to do and then he goes off today again. He’s been fun to watch. And that’s what I like about going back to Toronto now: the fans in Toronto get to watch one of the best players in baseball — and of course the rest of the group, but Vladdy’s been amazing.”
At the plate, Guerrero Jr. had plenty of support as Marcus Semien, Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez also homered Friday. For the moment, at least, the five home runs give the Blue Jays an MLB-leading 135 on the season.
But even on a night the offence was at its best, the pitching staff did its part too. Pitching on regular rest, Ray gave the Blue Jays 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball while striking out eight and walking just two. Because he started the Blue Jays’ final game before the All-Star break, this marked consecutive games started for Ray, whose season ERA now sits at 2.93.
“I asked for it,” Ray said afterwards. “I told them ‘I’ll pitch whenever you want me to, but I like staying in the five-day routine… I felt really good.”
“Waking up and knowing I was going to be able to pitch in a big-league baseball game was fun,” Borucki said. “Just being there in the bullpen with these guys, it was great to be back.”
Pulling the strings for those final moves was bench coach John Schneider who took over after manager Charlie Montoyo was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Greg Gibson over the timing of a replay review challenge.
With the win, the Blue Jays improve to 46-42 on the season — a small but important step for a team that must make up plenty more ground in the standings in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, the return to Toronto will certainly provide some welcome comfort and support for a team that last played at Rogers Centre nearly two calendar years ago.
There’s plenty of work to be done before the Blue Jays arrive home, both with respect to the roster itself in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline and the many logistics involved for players, staff and their families. But with Guerrero Jr. leading a potent offence, it’s easy to see this team’s potential, too.
Olympian Laurel Hubbard says not a transgender icon but an athlete, plans to retire – CTV News
The first openly transgender Olympian said on Tuesday she would retire from weightlifting and felt her landmark appearance at the Tokyo Games should be fast forgotten as sport takes greater strides to be more inclusive.
New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, 43, said she had never sought publicity, nor regards herself a role model or trailblazer, but just wants to be treated like any other athlete on sport’s biggest stage.
“I don’t think it should be historic. I think as we move into a new and more understanding world, people are starting to realize that people like me are just people,” Hubbard said of her participation in Tokyo, which was among the most contentious issues ahead of the Olympics.
“We are human and, as such, I hope that just being here is enough,” she said in a rare interview with international media.
“All I have ever wanted as an athlete is to be regarded as an athlete.”
The soft-spoken, media-shy Hubbard made an unexpected early exit on Monday, eliminated 10 minutes into her +87kg contest after failures in her opening three lifts.
Hubbard, who was born male and transitioned eight years ago, competed in Tokyo under the rules of a 2015 International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus on trans athletes. The IOC is currently reviewing those guidelines.
Her participation has stoked a huge debate on whether being more inclusive towards transgender women athletes means disadvantaging those born as women.
The IOC’s critics argue transgender athletes have an edge in skeletal and muscular development from being born male and say rules allowing trans athletes to contest women’s events could be abused by countries seeking to win more Olympic medals.
Advocates for trans athletes dismiss that as extremely unlikely, saying hormone therapy during transition negates perceived performance advantages.
Hubbard, who was twice the age of her competitors, said she was considering retiring because age had caught up with her and weightlifting had taken a physical toll.
“What I hope is, if I am in a position to look back, that this will just be a small part of history, just a small step,” Hubbard said.
“I really hope that with time, any significance to this occasion is diminished by things to come.”
She said she was no icon for trans athletes.
“I hope that just by being here, I can provide some sense of encouragement,” she said.
“I just hope that different people who are undergoing any difficulty or struggle … that they can perhaps see that there are opportunities in the world. There are opportunities to live authentically, and as we are.”
Save Women’s Sport Australasia, which has urged more scientific study and regulations on transgender athletes, said the IOC had been rash in determining that biological males who identify as women could compete in women’s sports.
“It feels quite wrong that New Zealander Laurel Hubbard has borne the brunt of what is quite obviously a flawed policy,” it said in a statement.
Hubbard applauded the IOC for being courageous but agreed more conversation and studies were necessary.
She believes the negative attention on her was based on emotion rather than principles and that people were reacting out of fear.
“I tried not to dwell on negative coverage or perception because it makes a hard job even harder,” she said.
“It’s hard enough lifting a barbell. But if you’re putting more weight on it, it makes it an impossible task really.”
Tokyo Olympics Day 11 Review: Andre De Grasse sets scorching pace in men's 200m – Yahoo Canada Sports
The majority of action during the Tokyo Olympics happens when most Canadians are fast asleep. While you were cozy in your bed, however, members of Team Canada were making their push for the podium.
Here’s what you missed from Day 10 of the Summer Games:
Women’s K1 200m Canoe Sprint: Andreanne Langlois qualifies for Final A
Rowing to a time of 39.952 seconds, Langlois claimed third place in Semifinal 2 to earn a lane in Final A. Fellow Canadian Michelle Russell finished with a time of 40.224 seconds, but she placed seventh in Semifinal 2 and raced in Final B.
In Final A, Langlois finished ninth with a time of 40.473 seconds.
Men’s C2 1000m Canoe Sprint: Roland Varga and Connor Fitzpatrick secure lane in Final A
The Canadian duo of Varga and Fitzpatrick captured a spot in Final A after finishing third in Semifinal 2 with a time of 3:27.145.
In Final A, Varga and Fitzpatrick placed sixth with a time of 3:30.157.
Women’s 400m: Kyra Constantine earns spot in semifinal
Finishing 21st overall in Round 1 with a time of 51.69 seconds, Constantine was the lone Canadian to advance to the semis. Country-mate Natassha McDonald placed 36th with a time of 53.54 seconds and did not advance.
Men’s 200m: Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown will race for gold
After both Canadians advanced from Round 1, De Grasse and Brown finished first (19.73 seconds) and third (19.99 seconds), respectively, in the semifinal to earn a lane in the final with an opportunity to win the gold medal.
The men’s 200m final is set to take place on Wednesday, August 4 at 8:55 AM EDT.
Women’s Team Pursuit Cycling: Canada finishes fourth in bronze final
Racing with the United States, Canada timed in at 4:10.552, which just put them off the podium with a fourth-place finish.
The U.S. won bronze, Great Britain secured silver, and Germany captured gold.
Women’s Beam Gymnastics: Elsabeth Black narrowly misses podium
Totalling 13.866 in the final, Black finished fourth in the event.
Simone Biles of the U.S. earned bronze with a score of 14.000. Tang Xijing of China won silver with a score of 14.233, and China’s Guan Chenchen claimed gold with a score of 14.633.
Men’s 5000m: Justyn Knight and Mohammed Ahmed advance from Round 1
Knight finished with a time of 13:30.22 to place third while Ahmed raced to a time of 13:38.96 to finish 13th. Both competitors advanced to the next race.
Fellow Canadian Lucas Bruchet finished 27th with a time of 13:44.08, but he did not qualify.
Women’s Duet Artistic Swimming: Claudia Holzner and Jacqueline Simoneau qualify for final
Earning a combined score of 182.7131 in the duet free routine and technical routine, Holzner and Simoneau finished fifth in the preliminary round to advance to the duet free routine final.
Women’s Hammer Throw: Camryn Rogers finishes fifth in final
Throwing an impressive distance of 74.35m, Rogers finished fifth in the final.
Poland’s Malwina Kopron captured bronze with a distance of 75.49m, China’s Wang Zheng nabbed silver with a distance of 77.03m, while Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland scored gold with a distance of 78.48m.
Women’s Beach Volleyball: Both Canadian squads ousted in quarterfinals
The defending world champions, Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, were upset in the quarters in three sets by Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar. The Canadian pair settles for fifth place in Tokyo.
Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson were also eliminated from medal contention on Tuesday, falling to Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in three sets.
When it comes to athletic accomplishments at the Olympics, none may be better than what we saw from Warholm on Day 11.
The Norwegian star completed the 400m hurdles in 45.94 seconds, absolutely demolishing his own previous world record of 46.70 seconds.
It’s truly an incredible accomplishment, especially when you consider the fastest time of any runner in the 400m semifinal with no hurdles was 43.88 seconds at these Olympics.
Equally impressive to his race was his celebration, as Warholm was absolutely wired.
That’s a gold medal celebration.
How many medals has Canada won in the Summer Olympics?
Canada has 14 medals in Tokyo heading into Day 12.
Bronze: Jessica Klimkait (judo, women’s under-57 kg), Softball, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (judo, women’s 63kg), Penny Oleksiak (women’s 200m freestyle), Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens (women’s pair rowing), Women’s 4×100 medley relay, Andre De Grasse (men’s 100m)
More from Yahoo Sports
Olympic wake-up call: Simone Biles, Ellie Black inspire on beam, kayaker wins 2 gold in 1 hour – CBC.ca
In a highly anticipated balance beam final, gymnast Simone Biles of the United States won a bronze medal Tuesday, while Canada’s Ellie Black finished just off the podium in fourth place.
Both women were inspiring on the beam and throughout the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Biles was returning to Olympic competition after withdrawing from events to look after her mental health. Black had reinjured her ankle in training and dropped from the individual all-around for a shot at the beam.
Biles earned a score of 14.000 for a seventh Olympic medal, and Black delivered a powerful performance for 13.866. The 25-year-old from Halifax was tearful and embraced her coach after her performance.
China finally reached the podium in women’s artistic gymnastics in Tokyo. Guan Chenchen won gold and Tang Xijing earned silver.
Here’s what else you may have missed on Tuesday in Tokyo:
Bring on the cheers
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
Upcoming men’s 200-metre semis
Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown have both qualified to race in the men’s 200-metre semifinals.
You can watch them compete in that race, scheduled to start at 7:50 a.m. ET here.
De Grasse ran 20.56 seconds to finish third in his qualifying heat, while Brown won his own with a time of 20.38 seconds.
De Grasse took the silver in Rio 2016, with Jamaica’s Usain Bolt speeding to his third consecutive gold medal in the event. Brown raced to 16th place.
It was that semifinal that gave the world the iconic photo of the pair, with De Grasse and Bolt sharing smiles as the Canadian tried to push past him at the finish.
Sport climbing debut
It was a special moment for Canadian sport climber Sean McColl, who is among the first Olympians in the sport.
The 33-year-old from North Vancouver had advocated for sport climbing to be included in the Games, and saw his dream become a reality with its debut in Tokyo.
“I am incredibly honoured to be part of this historical group, to be forever written into the history books of [the International Federation of Sport Climbing’s] first Olympics,” he wrote on Instagram.
Fellow Canadian and family friend Alannah Yip, also from North Vancouver, will make her debut on Wednesday.
New Zealander wins 2 gold, 1 hour apart
It only took just over an hour for Lisa Carrington of New Zealand to paddle her way to two Olympic gold medals.
For a third straight time, the 32-year-old claimed Olympic gold in the single kayak 200-metre race. Afterward, Carrington and partner Caitlin Regal won gold in the doubles 500-metre event.
- Have a weird or random question about the Tokyo Olympic Games? We want to hear from you for an upcoming story: Email us: Ask@cbc.ca
Carrington set Olympic records in both.
She flew to the finish in a time of 38.120 seconds in the individual round. Then with teammate Regal, she broke the doubles time in one minute 35.785 seconds.
Women’s team pursuit finishes 4th
The Canadian women’s team pursuit squad came fourth after losing their bronze medal race to the United States.
The Americans were silver medallists in Rio 2016 and London 2012, while Canada was looking to repeat its back-to-back bronzes.
The Canadian team of Allison Beveridge, Annie Foreman-Mackey, Ariane Bonhomme and Georgia Simmerling couldn’t quite catch up to their opponent and finished in a time of four minutes 10.552 seconds.
The United States were ahead in a time of four minutes 08.040 seconds.
Canadian squads bounced from medal contention
The Canadian men’s volleyball team and women’s water polo team won’t be bringing home medals from Tokyo. Both fell in their quarter-final matches on Tuesday.
The men went down in straight sets on the court (21-25, 28-30, 22-25) to the Russian Olympic Committee. While the Canadians were hoping to compete for a medal, their match ended in a repeat of their fate in Rio 2016.
The Canadian women took on the two-time consecutive gold medallists U.S. in the pool, and lost 16-5. It was their first appearance in the Olympic tournament since Athens 2004, where the women finished seventh and didn’t reach the quarter-final stages.
Smashing a world record
Norweigan hurdler Karsten Warholm destroyed his previous world record in the intense heat and humidity of Tokyo.
It had only been a month and two days since he broke it the first time, shattering a record held by American Kevin Young that stood since the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Warholm had an incredible performance in the 400-metre hurdles final, winning gold in a time of 45.94 seconds. The 25-year-old’s jaw dropped when he saw his time. He grabbed his jersey, ripping it open across his chest in celebration.
American Rai Benjamin broke the record, too, but came close behind in second.
- Have a weird or random question about the Olympic Games? We want to hear from you for an upcoming story: Email us: Ask@cbc.ca
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