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Berrios dominant as Blue Jays beat Mariners in home opener


TORONTO — After a long season-opening 10-game road trip, the Toronto Blue Jays returned home Monday night to a new-look Rogers Centre and a capacity crowd.

Starter Jose Berrios did his part to kick off the home schedule in style. Contributions from up and down the lineup sealed the deal.

Berrios threw 6 2/3 shutout innings and Davis Schneider drove in two runs as the Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 5-2.

"It was everyone doing what they're supposed to do tonight," said Toronto manager John Schneider. "It was great defence as well. That was a complete ball game."

Berrios (2-0) allowed a walk, four hits and had six strikeouts as Toronto improved to 5-6 in front of a crowd of 40,069.

Schneider, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two hits apiece as Toronto outhit Seattle 11-7. The Blue Jays improved to 30-18 all-time in home openers.

J.P. Crawford hit a solo homer for Seattle (4-7) in the eighth inning off reliever Yimi Garcia. Cal Raleigh added a solo blast in the ninth off Blue Jays reliever Chad Green.

First pitch was about a half-hour later than normal due to a pre-game ceremony and player introductions. Berrios, who also got the Opening Day start against Tampa Bay, gave up just one single over the first four innings.

"I was trying to be respectful, but when I go out there I have to be a bad dog," Berrios said. "That's what I've got in mind."

After a clean opening frame, the Blue Jays got to Mariners starter Luis Castillo (0-3) in the second.

Justin Turner reached on a double and scored on Alejandro Kirk's two-out single. Kiner-Falefa doubled to move Kirk to third base but they were stranded when Kevin Kiermaier struck out.

Kiermaier, who like Berrios was acknowledged before the game for Gold Glove Awards last year, flashed some of his defensive skills in the third inning. He made a nice running catch in right-centre field to deny Josh Rojas an extra-base hit.

Guerrero legged out an infield single in the bottom half and moved to third on a Bo Bichette double. Turner walked to load the bases for Schneider, who floated a single that scored two runs.

"It wasn't the best swing but good things happen when you put the ball in play," he said.

The Mariners have lost five of six.

“We’re not putting a full game together, either on the mound or at the plate,” said Seattle manager Scott Servais. “You’re not going to win many games unless you start doing that.”

Toronto padded its lead in the fourth inning when Guerrero drove in Kiermaier from second base with a double.

Kiermaier delivered two more strong defensive plays in the fifth. He hustled into the gap to cut off a Ty France hit that forced the runner to stay at first base.

France tested Kiermaier's arm on a single by Dominic Calzone and the veteran outfielder threw a strike to Kiner-Falefa, but the Toronto third baseman didn't lower his glove right away for the tag and the out call was overturned on review.

Berrios struck out Rojas and got Crawford to ground out to end the threat.

Castillo gave up four earned runs, nine hits and a walk over five innings. He had six strikeouts.

The Toronto skipper heard some boos when he pulled Berrios after he gave up a two-out broken-bat single in the seventh.

It was the Blue Jays' first home game since Schneider's much-criticized decision to pull the right-hander in the fourth inning of a Game 2 wild-card series loss last year in Minnesota.


One of the more noticeable on-field changes at Rogers Centre is the new-look corners with the seating section raised higher near the foul screens.

After the team returned to town Sunday evening, third-base coach Carlos Febles spent time looking down the lines to envision how the corners might play.

"He was actually standing out there last night for quite a while, Carlos was, trying to get the lay of the land," Schneider said in his pre-game media availability.

Febles was hired last November after spending 17 seasons as a coach in the Boston Red Sox organization. He succeeded Luis Rivera as Toronto's third-base coach.

Rivera, who retired after last season, threw the ceremonial first pitch.


The three-game series continues Tuesday night. Chris Bassitt (0-2, 7.71 earned-run average) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays against fellow right-hander George Kirby (1-1, 5.23).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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