Guerrero Jr., Grichuk’s home runs power Jays to series win over Yankees

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk homered off Domingo German in the Yankee right-hander’s return from a domestic violence ban, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat New York 3-1 Sunday to win a season-opening series against their AL East rival.

A slimmed-down Guerrero — the 22-year-old claimed to lose 42 pounds in the off-season — had a hit in all three games in the series, including an opposite-field shot leading off the second inning against German. It was Guerrero’s first homer of the season after he underwhelmed in 2020, hitting .262 with nine homers in 60 games.

Grichuk wrapped a two-run drive around the left-field foul pole two batters after Guerrero, helping Toronto take two of three.

T.J. Zeuch pitched four scoreless innings for the Blue Jays, and left-hander Ryan Borucki (1-0) got two outs to escape a jam in the sixth. Julian Merryweather got his second save with a perfect ninth.

German (0-1) allowed three runs over three innings in his first appearance since Sept. 18, 2019. He missed all of last season serving an 81-game ban under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after an alleged incident involving his girlfriend, with whom he has at least one child.

The 28-year-old German was applauded by fans in right field when he bolted out of the dugout for warmups about 35 minutes before first pitch and got more cheers after completing a 12-pitch first inning.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Jamie Strashin preview the 2021 Blue Jays season:

Jamie Strashin of CBC Sports joins John Northcott on CBC News Network to discuss today’s Blue Jays season opener. 3:18

German repeatedly left the ball up during the second — including on both homers — and was pulled after the third with 68 pitches. He was charged with four hits, a walk and a wild pitch while striking out two.

Right-hander Michael King followed German with six scoreless innings of one-hit ball. King retired his final 15 batters, baffling Toronto with a five-pitch mix. He walked one and struck out three. He is the first Yankees reliever with at least six innings and no more than one hit since Bob Shirley on Sept. 21, 1986.

Bo Bichette became the fastest Blue Jays player to reach 100 career hits, getting there with a first-inning double in his 78th game. Alex Rios needed 85 games.

Zeuch threw 63 pitches and allowed three hits and a walk with one strikeout. The Blue Jays’ 2016 first-round pick started after left-hander Robbie Ray went on the injured list last week. The right-hander had a 1.59 ERA in three appearances (one start) last season.

Blue Jays right-hander Trent Thornton gave up a run in the fifth and was pulled in the sixth after losing a couple mph on his fastball. He allowed Gleyber Torres’ double before Borucki retired Jay Bruce and Gary Sanchez to end the inning.

Brett Gardner had an RBI groundout in the fifth for New York.

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