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Springer’s three-run homer lifts Blue Jays to epic comeback win vs. Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Blue Jays outfielder George Springer had one thought stepping up to the plate in the eighth inning with two outs, moments before he would slam his dramatic game-winning three-run homer against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

“I wanted to get Vladdy up,” Springer said, referring to Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who bats second behind Springer in the lineup. “Somehow, I had to get to first base because he’s having a big year.”

Instead, Springer knocked a 2-2 fastball into the second deck to give the Blue Jays a come-from-behind 9-8 victory and three wins in the essential four-game set against their division rivals.

The homer was Springer’s fifth of the Blue Jays 10-day, 11-game tour of duty at Rogers Centre after a 22-month absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blue Jays enjoyed a 9-2 mark in the return to their home field, significant because they went a middling 10-11 in Dunedin, FLA and 12-11 in Buffalo in the two parks they were forced to call home earlier this season.

“Obviously, to get to play in front of our fans has given us a boost,” said Toronto starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who struggled and lasted only 3.2 innings to match his shortest effort of the season.

Springer missed a significant part of the first half with a quadriceps ailment. But he has found his form lately and was named the American League player of the week for July 26 to Aug. 1.

“We just fought and battled and scratched and clawed all day,” Springer said. “It’s an indescribable feeling for sure.”

The Blue Jays were down 7-2 after four innings after the Red Sox sent eight batters to the plate in both the second and fourth innings and scored three runs on each occasion.

To arrive at Springer’s dramatic moment, Guerrero smacked his 35th homer of the season, a two-run blast in the fifth inning. The Blue Jays then scored two more in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly from Marcus Semien and an RBI single to centre field from Teoscar Hernandez.

In the eighth inning, Blue Jays infielder Breyvic Valera stroked a one-out single. Then, after Santiago Espinal flew out to right, catcher Reese McGuire gave the crowd of 14,766 something to cheer about with a game-saving at-bat.

He took a call second strike for a 3-and-2 count. McGuire then fouled off three fastballs before he walked, leaving the stage for Springer’s 13th dinger off Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes (6-4).

“For him to fight off some pitches and ultimately get to first base was huge,” Springer said. “It shouldn’t be overshadowed because that was the at-bat of the game.”

Springer’s homer provided the Blue Jays with only their seventh come-from-behind win in 40 games they have trailed after seven innings.

“That game tells you everything about the heart of our team,” an excited Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

The Blue Jays (60-50) were eight games behind the Red Sox (65-49) at the all-star break. But now Toronto has pulled to within four games of its division rivals.

Boston, led by J.D. Martinez’s four hits, wound up with 16 hits to Toronto’s 10 for the afternoon.

Ryu, hoping to win an AL-leading 12th game, stated he struggled with his command.

Rafael Dolis (2-3), the fourth of five pitchers used by Montoyo, pitched an effective 1.1 innings, allowing one hit for the win.

Canadian Jordan Romano enjoyed a one-two-three ninth inning for his 10th save.

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Teoscar Hernandez's 3-run shot spurs Blue Jays to victory over Twins – CBC.ca

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The three-run homer launched by Teoscar Hernandez in the fourth inning provided the Blue Jays with enough runs to defeat the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in Toronto, and the blast pushed him past Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the team lead in RBI.

The 6-2 victory also restored the Blue Jays (83-65) to the second wild-card spot in the American League by a half-game over the New York Yankees.

The Yankees (83-66) were thumped 11-3 at home by Cleveland. The Boston Red Sox (85-65) held on to the top wild-card spot with a 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Hernandez has 106 RBI, two more than Guerrero, who has an outside chance at the AL triple crown. He’s first in batting average (.318) and homers (46), and now fourth in RBI, eight behind Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez.

“If he has a chance for the triple crown, I’ll ask Charlie to sit me,” joked Hernandez, who has 20 RBI in September.

The 28-year-old Hernandez credits work on his mental game as the reason for his productive and consistent season. He’s not only been reliable at the plate but also in the outfield.

“He’s been the best hitter on a lot of teams,” Blue Jays starter Steven Matz said of Hernandez. “He’s easy to overlook with how good this lineup is. He’s been amazing.”

Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak, a seven-time Olympic medallist, was among 14,722 at the Rogers Centre. She threw out the ceremonial first pitch and tossed a strike.

Twins’ 8-game win streak stopped

The Twins appeared headed for a ninth straight win in Toronto dating back Aug. 17, 2017. They led 2-0 after the first inning on a two-run homer to right field by former Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who also belted a solo shot in Minnesota’s series-opening win Friday.

But Matz settled down after Donaldson’s homer Saturday to retire 16 of the next 17 Twins.

Matz has benefitted from the highest average of run support in Major League Baseball this season at 8.07 a game. He’s won his last four decisions. His 13th win matched Hyun Jin Ryu for the team lead.

And while Ryu has struggled in his last two starts, Matz has stepped up big time.

“To be in a hole like that, you just want to make good pitches and put up zeroes,” Matz said.

“I just wanted to keep it close and wait for the bats to come alive.”

The bats perked up in the fourth. Minnesota rookie starter Bailey Ober (2-3) took a no-hitter into the inning. The home side got to Ober the second time through the Blue Jays’ order.

Marcus Semien led off the fourth with a solo shot to left field to become only the fifth second baseman in MLB history to hit 40 or more homers in a season.

Guerrero then walked, and Bo Bichette singled to centre. Hernandez lifted a first-pitch slider high into the sky that barely cleared the left-field fence for his 28th homer and a two-run advantage.

“I knew I hit it good, but just a little high,” he said.

Toronto padded its lead in the seventh when Twins reliever Jovani Moran loaded the bases with walks to Alejandro Kirk, George Springer and Guerrero. Kyle Barraclough replaced Moran and was greeted with a two-run single to left from Bichette.

A two-out walk to Donaldson followed by a single to centre from Miguel Sano ended Matz’s day after 96 pitches and five and two-thirds innings of work.

The lefty struck out five, walked two and yielded only three hits.

Blue Jays reliever Trevor Richards finished off the sixth for Matz. Tim Mayza generated a one-two-three seventh inning and struck out Nick Gordon to begin the eighth.

Righty Adam Cimber finished off the eighth, aided by a brilliant play from Bichette. He went deep in the hole to his right to throw out Donaldson.

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Bad news as Big Boyz Brigade debuts for Edmonton Oilers in rookie games against Flames – Edmonton Journal

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The last thing you want to happen in an exhibition game between top rookie prospects? For one of your top prospects to go out with injury.

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That’s what happened with Dmitri Samorukov and the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton’s 4-3 prospect game win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Early in the first period, after a couple on-ice collisions, Samorukov left the game. It was an ominous moment, all the more so because Samorukov’s season was cut short last year due a shoulder injury. He had just been cleared one week ago to return to the ice from injury. He had been the talk of the first few days of the Oilers rookie camp, impressing team insiders with his great skating and big body.

Winger Xavier Bourgault also took a nasty hit-from-behind into the boards late in the game, missing the final three minutes of the game.

There was no word on the extent of the Samorukov and Bourgault’s injuries at the time we published this post.

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Samorukov is part of Edmonton’s Big Boyz Brigade on defence, Edmonton’s group of young and hulking d-man prospects , all of them well over six feet tall.

The group also includes Philip Broberg, Michael Kesselring, Markus Niemelainen, Filip Berglund, Phil Kemp and Vincent Desharnais. They should form the Bakersfield defence this year.

Kemp, Broberg, Niemelainen, Berglund and Kesselring all played in the rookie game.

Each of the Big Boyz Brigade got stronger as the game went on. The Oilers rookies came back from a 3-1 first period deficit to win.

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Here are brief reports on each of the Big Boyz Brigade, with my account limited because I was unable to go over video to review the key plays.

Kesselring: He got beat to a rebound on one goal against and failed to block a shot on another.  But as the game went on, he got stronger, playing on a pairing with Markus Niemelainen. Kesselring got his feet going and made a number of strong plays, winning, moving and shooting the puck.

Niemelainen: He reminded me a bit of Kris Russell in this one (though a much bigger version of Russell), in that he’s fast on his skates and defensive minded. He also won the puck a few times in his zone and was only able to dump it out, as opposed to making a good pass to get it out. But, overall, got the job done on defence, though he failed to cut out a pass on one goal against and was slow to his man in front of the Edmonton net on another.

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Kemp: He scored two bad angle goals, one through a screen and one on a deflection, but he scored them because he jumped into the attack and put the puck at the net. What’s not to like? He did get beat down the wing on one dangerous Flames rush in the first. But he also jumped up a few times to pinch and keep the puck in the Calgary end. This was the best I’ve seen him as an Oilers prospect. After Samorukov went out, he paired up with veteran Yanni Kaldis, who made a few nice passes for assists on the power play.

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Broberg: He looked bad on one early goal against, wandering behind the net, and taking himself out of position to stop a slot pass, which eventually ended up in the net. Other than that, though, Broberg played well. He skated miles and skated fast. He was Edmonton’s top d-man on the power play, making a number of good passes and even better pinches in that role. A super solid 2021-22 debut for the Oilers.

Berglund: He looked much, much, much better here than he had when I last saw him play in Sweden in the fall, when he was playing hurt. He too had a bad moment in the first, getting caught in the n-zone on a Calgary rush and goal. But he was Edmonton’s steadiest d-man in this game, shutting down the attack, moving the puck, invariably in position. It looks like he and Broberg will form Edmonton’s top partnership in Bakersfield to start the year.

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Top-ranked Bombers beat Elks for fourth straight victory – TSN

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EDMONTON — The defence turned the tide for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

DeAundre Alford and Adam Bighill recorded defensive touchdowns as the league-leading Blue Bombers fought their way past the Edmonton Elks 37-22.

“Our defence, scoring two touchdowns for us, that is absolutely amazing when they are able to create turnovers like that and capitalize on them with points on the board,” said Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris.

“Our defence has been our backbone. They really flexed when we needed them to.”

Alford had two touchdowns in the contest.

“I think this is the best defence in the CFL and that we put everybody on notice that we are going to play fast and physical,” he said. “That we are going to do whatever it takes to win.”

The Blue Bombers (6-1) have won four games in a row while the Elks (2-4) have lost two straight and fell to 0-4 at home this season.

Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius went 19 for 33 and passed for 243 yards with three interceptions in his CFL debut as he replaced Trevor Harris, who was placed on the six-game injured list with a neck injury.

“I thought he played really poised,” said Elks head coach Jaime Elizondo. “Listen, for having one day of practice, I thought he came out and showed some things that were really, really encouraging and I thought the guys responded really well to him.

“He didn’t get flustered. I know he’s going to be hard on himself with the mistakes he made. But those interceptions were a credit to the defence, they had some good breaks on the ball.”

Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros went 19 of 24 passing for 252 yards, a TD and an interception.

Winnipeg got off to a blazing start by scoring on its first drive, going 80 yards in nine plays, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Collaros to Darvin Adams.

The Blue Bombers doubled their lead on their next drive as Nic Demski ploughed his way through several defenders for a 21-yard rushing major to make it 14-0.

Edmonton got back into the game midway through the second thanks to a Christian Rector fumble recovery on the Bombers’ nine-yard-line, leading to a James Wilder Jr. touchdown run.

Winnipeg kicker Ali Mourtada missed a 28-yard field goal attempt before Edmonton’s Sean Whyte nailed a three-pointer from 44 yards out to make it 15-10 at the mid-mark.

Edmonton surged into the lead early in the third quarter with an unconverted 19-yard TD run by Wilder.

However the Bombers regained the lead as Alford picked off Cornelius and took it back 22 yards for the touchdown. A two-point convert made it 23-16 for Winnipeg.

Whyte responded with a 32-yard field goal before Mourtada missed his third field goal attempt of the game from 44 yards.

The Bombers defence did it again late in the third as Cornelius fumbled deep in his own end, leading to a three-yard scoop and score by Bighill.

After Whyte kicked a 19-yard field goal, Winnipeg put the game away with a one-yard TD plunge by Sean McGuire.

Both teams have a bye next week. The Elks’ next game will be in Ottawa on Sept. 28, while the Bombers will be in B.C. on Oct. 1. Winnipeg and Edmonton will then play each other again in a home-and-home series.

Notes: Two highly anticipated players made their Elks debuts: offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers and linebacker Derrick Moncrief… Winnipeg was trying its third place-kicker of the season with Mourtada making his CFL debut, relegating rookie Marc Liegghio to punting duties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

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