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Guerrero Jr. drives in six to power Blue Jays past Yankees

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn't see himself as the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse leader, but his recent hot streak is certainly leading by example.

Guerrero hit a two-run homer and drove in four more runs with a pair of doubles as Toronto bounced back with a 9-3 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday. Guerrero has driven in 19 runs with 14 hits over the past six games but was reluctant to call himself the Blue Jays' catalyst.

"I don't see myself as the leader of the team, it's just more that I take it personal," said Guerrero through translator Hector Lebron. "Every day I'm trying to do something good and find a way to to help my team to win some games.

"But it's something that comes from myself, not actually because I think I'm a leader."

Alejandro Kirk had two runs batted in with a double and a single as Toronto (38-44) shook off a 16-5 rout from the previous night. Isiah Kiner-Falefa went 4-for-5 and scored three runs, adding an RBI.

"We're trusting each other every day, regardless of the situation," said Guerrero.

Chris Bassitt (7-6) limited the Yankees to one unearned run on six hits and two walks, striking out eight over six innings. It was an impressive showing after he took a sharp comebacker from Yankees slugger Aaron Judge off his forearm in the first inning.

"I knew I was fine to stay in the game right away," said Bassitt, who got an X-ray between the first and second innings. "I just wasn't too sure about the inning after that and the inning after that.

Bassitt put on a compression sleeve after the X-ray and worked with team trainers between each inning to control any inflammation or soreness.

"Obviously, things like that kind of tighten up a little bit," he said. "We just did enough to get by."

Brendon Little, Zach Pop of Brampton, Ont., and Jose Cuas, in his Blue Jays' debut, came on in relief.

Austin Wells had a two-run homer in the ninth for New York (53-32), while Judge had an RBI single in the fifth.

Nestor Cortes (4-7) lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out five. Jake Cousins, Phil Bickford, Caleb Ferguson and Clay Holmes came out of the Yankees' bullpen.

Kiner-Falefa singled to reach base with one out in the first. In the next at bat, Guerrero launched a Cortes change-up 403 feet for his 13th homer of the season.

Kirk tacked on another run in the fourth when he doubled down the first-base line. That was enough to cash in Justin Turner from second for a 3-0 Toronto lead. It was the 17th RBI of the light-hitting Kirk's season and raised his batting average above .200.

Judge replied for the Yankees in the fifth, scoring Volpe from third. Volpe had reached base on a throwing error from Blue Jays third baseman Ernie Clement.

A five-run rally in the sixth helped Toronto pull way ahead of the visitors.

Kirk drove in another run when his single gave George Springer time to trot home. Kiner-Falefa kept the runs coming four hitters later with a two-out single that scored pinch-hitter Daulton Varsho for a 5-1 Blue Jays lead.

Guerrero was up next, and he doubled to send Kirk, Bo Bichette and Kiner-Falefa home to the delight of the 37,448 at Rogers Centre. It was the 800th hit of Guerrero's career. He's the eighth fastest player in Blue Jays history to reach the milestone, doing it in 742 games.

"It was a normal hit for me, to be honest with you," said Guerrero. "I saw it as a 1-1 game because you never know.

"Baseball is like that, especially these guys. They can come back at any moment."

Kiner-Falefa and Guerrero combined for another Toronto run in the eighth. Kiner-Falefa was on first after a two-out hit when Guerrero doubled again, easily sliding into home for a 9-1 Blue Jays lead.

Wells chipped away at that in the ninth, smashing a Cuas sweeper to deep right field. His third homer of the year also scored Gleyber Torres.

ON DECK — A potential pitchers' duel will close out the four-game series on Sunday as Toronto's Kevin Gausman (6-6) takes on New York's Gerritt Cole (0-1).

It will be Cole's second start of the season after he won the 2023 American League Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher.

Gausman finished third in Cy Young voting last year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.