By IAN HARRISON | Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — Teoscar Hernández hit a three-run homer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Kevin Gausman pitched six solid innings to win his second straight decision as the Blue Jays won back-to-back games after losing their previous three. Toronto is in position for an AL wild card.
Guerrero finished with three hits and two RBIs.
Back in the lineup after sitting out Monday because of a sore left foot, Hernández homered for the first time since Aug. 18 at New York.
“I’ve been battling for the last couple of weeks with injuries and all that stuff, not having a good time at the plate or on defense,” Hernández said. “I tried to do the best that I can and I did it today and it feels great.”
Hernández also contributed defensively, making an exceptional sliding catch on Franmil Reyes’ sinking liner to end the fourth inning.
“I didn’t think he had any chance but he made a heck of a play,” Gausman said.
Willson Contreras and Christopher Morel hit solo home runs for the Cubs, but Contreras left in the sixth inning after aggravating his sore left ankle. Contreras limped around the bases after his fourth-inning homer.
“He feels better after getting some work on it,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We’ll see how it looks tomorrow.”
Gausman (10-9) allowed two runs and five hits, walked one and struck out nine, including five straight Ks in the second and third innings.
“I had a really good feel for my split pretty early in the game so we relied on that a lot,” Gausman said.
Gausman allowed two home runs for the second time in 25 starts this season. He’s given up nine homers on the year.
David Phelps got two outs in the seventh but left after issuing back-to-back walks. Anthony Bass came on and got Nick Madrigal to fly out.
Trevor Richards got two outs in the eighth and Jordan Romano wrapped it up for his 28th save in 32 chances.
Facing his former team for the first time, Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman allowed one run and three hits in five innings, leaving with a 2-1 lead.
“My sinker was good today,” Stroman said. “When my mechanics are on and my sinker is going, I feel like I can always roll against any lineup.”
Left-hander Brendon Little (0-1) made his big league debut when he replaced Stroman in the sixth but gave up the lead before recording an out. A replay review confirmed that leadoff batter Bo Bichette had been hit by a pitch and Matt Chapman reached on an infield single before Hernández hammered a first-pitch homer to right, his 19th.
“Things got a little out of hand really fast,” Ross said.
Contreras opened the scoring with his 21st homer. Seiya Suzuki reached on a two-out single, but Hernández robbed Reyes to end the threat.
Stroman escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first by retiring Hernández on a fielder’s choice. That was the first of 10 consecutive outs, a streak that ended when Stroman hit Danny Jansen on the left arm in the fifth. Jansen advanced on a passed ball and tied it 1-1 when he scored on Guerrero’s two-out single.
Morel broke the tie with a leadoff homer in the sixth, his 13th, but Hernández answered in the bottom half.
Morel cut it to 4-3 with an RBI double off Bass in the seventh. Guerrero connected off Michael Rucker to begin the bottom half, his 27th.
Hernández’s home run was his 100th hit of the season. It gave the Blue Jays a major league-leading eight players with at least 100 hits. It’s the first time in team history Toronto has eight players with 100 or more hits before Sept. 1.
Contreras is the first catcher in Cubs history to hit 20 or more home runs in consecutive seasons.
The Cubs have lost five straight in Toronto, dating to 2014.
With the roof open at Rogers Centre, a brief rain shower fell before the start of the third inning, with some in the crowd of 33,759 seeking shelter on the concourses. The rain stopped by the end of the inning.
Blue Jays: George Springer was the DH.
Chicago added RHP Jeremiah Estrada from Triple-A Iowa as a substitute player. Estrada replaced LHP Justin Steele, who went on the restricted list Monday. Steele couldn’t be replaced until three days had passed since his most recent appearance of four or more innings. Steele pitched 5 1/3 innings against the Brewers last Friday.
RHP Mitch White (1-4, 4.24 ERA) starts for Toronto in Wednesday’s series finale. The Cubs have not named a starter.
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