Blue Jays Billy McKinney: Swats third home run –

Blue Jays\ Billy McKinney: Swats third home run -

After slow start, Vlad cant stop hitting HRs

McKinney went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and scored twice in a victory over the White Sox on Sunday.

McKinney was the only Blue Jay who could get to Reynaldo Lopez on Sunday, as his third-inning home run represented the only run allowed by the White Sox starter. He would later come around to score a key insurance run on a Danny Jansen homer in the ninth. McKinney has six hits in his last 12 at-bats but still carries a mediocre .250 batting average on the season.

“You learn a lot on days like today when you dont have your stuff because you need to find ways to get through your outing,” Lopez said. “I learned that last year and Ive been learning that when I watch other pitchers go through those moments. Thats something that helps you in your development process because its going to make you better.”

CHICAGO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is starting to make up for lost time, and along the way he is making everyone forget about a slow start to his rookie season. Guerrero homered for the fourth time over his last six games in the Blue Jays 5-2 victory vs. the White

“Its good for them,” catcher Welington Castillo said of Lopez and Giolito. “Its going to be really good for them in the long run. Theyre young. It will help them in the long run because they can get through the next time their stuff is not there. They can battle and they can fight.”

CHICAGO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is starting to make up for lost time, and along the way he is making everyone forget about a slow start to his rookie season.

But before Guerrero snapped a 1-1 tie with a 2-run homer off reliever Kelvin Herrera in the eighth inning, Reynaldo Lopez cleared an important hurdle that often trips up developing starting pitchers.

Guerrero homered for the fourth time over his last six games in the Blue Jays 5-2 victory vs. the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was Guerreros two-run shot in the top of the eighth which broke a tie ballgame and allowed the Blue Jays to salvage a series split in Chicago.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Associated Press

All four of Guerreros home runs came on Torontos six-game road trip through San Francisco and Chicago. Prior to the outburst on the road, Guerrero was slashing .191/.283/.234, which equated to a .517 OPS. Since then, Guerrero has seven hits over six games and the sudden uptick in power has raised his OPS to .766.

Youre hoping the guy in front gets on because he has a chance to do something every time he comes to the plate, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. Its fun to have a guy like that in the lineup. … The more the lineup gets hot, the more comfortable hes going to get, because then he feels less pressure to do stuff. Thats how I see it.

The turnaround for Guerrero dates back to even before the start of the road trip. He had three hits over his final two games in a previous series vs. Chicago and over his last eight games Guerrero is batting .370 (10-for-27) with four home runs and nine RBIs, while posting an .852 slugging percentage and 1.321 OPS.

Being able to work out of jams is a must for front-line starters, and Lucas Giolito has figured out how to successfully pitch through traffic this season.

For Guerrero this also marked his third multi-hit game of the season, and its safe to say that he is starting to perform the way most people expected when he was called up late last month.

A Guerrero leadoff single and walks to Justin Smoak and Freddy Galvis loaded the bases and brought Billy McKinney to the plate with two outs.

I feel very good right now and Ive been working hard in the cage with the hitting coach Guillermo Martinez, Guerrero said through an interpreter after the game. Ive just been working in the cage on trying to hit the ball back up the middle. Thats basically what I do.

In the fourth inning, Yoan Moncada led off with a triple against Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton and scored on Abreus groundout.

Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton came away with a no-decision but he deserved a better fate after one of his better starts of the season. Despite the soggy conditions in Chicago, Thornton showcased some impressive command, allowing just one run while scattering three hits and a walk over six strong innings. The win went to reliever Daniel Hudson, who is now tied for the team lead with three after a scoreless seventh.

Lopez fell behind 3-0 to Torontos left fielder, but he kept his composure and came back to strike out McKinney.

Thornton might not have come away with the victory but he is starting to get used to having the rookie phenom provide him with some run support. In Thorntons last outing vs. San Francisco, Guerrero homered for the first time in his career as part of a two-homer night. Guerrero is 5-for-8 with three homers and six RBIs over the last two games that Thornton has started.

Hes everything that everybody wanted him to be, Thornton said after his second quality start of the season. Hes an awesome bat, an awesome defender. I think were a good-hitting team. Were going to get hot, were going to keep swinging, were going to win games. It has been fun these last two starts.

Reynaldo López takes the mound as the Sox try for a series victory over the Jays. The starboardsider (why should lefties get all the cutesy references?) carries a 5.58 ERA, but hes coming off 7 2⁄3 excellent innings against the Indians. Hell be facing fellow righty Trent Thornton, who has had an up-and-down season and sports a 1-4 record and 4.81 ERA.

Toronto catcher Danny Jansen added a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to give the Blue Jays some breathing room. It was his second home run of the season and his second of the series. Billy McKinney also chipped in with a solo home run as he picked up multiple hits for the second time in his last three games.

The chance of another five-inning victory exists, since, at time of writing, theres a 55% chance of thunderstorms at 3 p.m, but the forecast is a lot better than yesterdays (well, better in general, given yesterdays worked well for the home team).

That was big, even more against this club, they dont quit, Montoyo said of Jansen. Theyve got a good offense so that was huge for me.

Minor movementThe Blue Jays signed veteran left-hander Buddy Boshers to a Minor League contract on Sunday morning and he will report to Triple-A Buffalo early next week.

Now, the Sox have below average offense, but with some solid individual production; terrible pitching, but with occasional flashes of excellence; and horrible defense, no buts about it. They are two games under .500.

Boshers is 3-0 with a 4.59 ERA over parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues. The 31-year-old has not pitched in the big leagues since 2017, when he posted a 4.89 ERA in 38 appearances out of the bullpen for Minnesota.

The signing gives the Blue Jays a little more pitching depth inside the organization. Tim Mayza and Thomas Pannone have been the only left-handed options out of the 'pen for Toronto, but Boshers could slide into that role if there are injuries later in the year.

Boshers was signed out of the Mexican League, where he made a pair of appearances and did not allow a run over 2 1/3 innings. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft.

Giles and Shoemaker on Hooton BoardKen Giles and Matt Shoemaker have been named to the Advisory Board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which advocates against the use of performance-enhancing substances by youth players.

At least one active player from every Major League team was named to the Advisory Board, and overall there are a record 42 players participating. This is the fourth straight season the Taylor Foundation has included a representative from every team.

"The Taylor Hooton Foundation is simply overwhelmed by the support that these elite athletes and Major League Baseball provide to send such an important and positive message to our young people that they, too, can accomplish all of their dreams without the use of these dangerous and often illegal substances," Taylor Hooton Foundation president Donald Hooton Jr. said in a statement.

"Kids today are driven to look their best and millions of middle- and high-school kids are using appearance and performance-enhancing substances to achieve their goals."

Giles and Shoemaker will be participating in the "All Me" public-service campaign to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding performance-enhancing drugs and the benefits of competing the right way. The Advisory Board will also take part in THF's educational activities in their local communities.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.

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