WASHINGTON - Because of injuries, the can't-play-in-Toronto Blue Jays were without their leadoff hitter and their closer against the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
The two guys who took over those jobs came through. Teoscar Hernandez replaced late scratch Bo Bichette and hit two of Toronto's four solo homers off Anibal Sanchez, Anthony Bass got the save while filling in for Ken Giles, and the Blue Jays beat the 2019 World Series champions 4-1.
Hernandez drove the game's second pitch over the wall in right-centre, and started the fifth by homering to the same part of the park.
“Teo got us going right off the bat. ... Bass came in and was lights out. Shut the door. That's what everyone knows he's capable of doing. That was definitely a positive sign,” said Toronto's Trent Thornton, who started and pitched four innings, before being followed by five relievers.
“Two guys stepped up and got the job done,” Thornton said. “We have plenty of guys who are fully capable of doing that.”
Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen also went deep for the Blue Jays, who put Giles on the 10-day injured list Monday and pulled Bichette from the lineup about 15 minutes before the first pitch with a tight left hamstring.
Manager Charlie Montoyo's team already had to deal with the inconvenience of not being allowed to host any 2020 games in Toronto.
Indeed, the Blue Jays' first two “home” games of this pandemic-altered season will be played in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday while they wait for Buffalo's minor league park to be prepped for them.
Toronto improved to 2-2 and dropped the World Series champions to 1-3 by going deep - over and over again.
Washington kept getting hits, 11 in all. But other than Kurt Suzuki's double that scored Eric Thames from first base in the fourth, the Nationals could not come through.
“Just one of those days we weren't lucky,” said manager Dave Martinez, who was critical of baserunning by Victor Robles and Thames.
The Nationals hit into four double plays. Three times, they stranded a man on third. They left a total of 10 runners on base.
Ryan Borucki (1-0) got four outs to earn the win, before Bass recorded his first save of the year.
Toronto, meanwhile, kept getting the big swings: Of the six hits given up by Sanchez (0-1), four left the yard - including Hernandez's seventh career multi-homer game - and the others were doubles.
Asked about not allowing a single, Sanchez smiled widely and joked: “Almost a no-hitter.”