Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a career-best three home runs, including a grand slam, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the visiting Washington Nationals 9-5 Tuesday night at Dunedin, Fla.
Guerrero had a career-best seven RBIs and teammate Cavan Biggio contributed three singles and a sacrifice fly in the opener of a two-game set.
Trea Turner hit two home runs for the Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman belted a two-run homer and Yadiel Hernandez hit a solo shot.
Washington starter Max Scherzer (1-2) allowed seven runs (five earned), five hits and two walks while striking out five in five innings. He had a 19-inning scoreless streak end in the third.
Turner hit an 0-2 curveball to left to open the first inning. It was the 13th time in his career that he homered to lead off a game.
Turner hit his sixth homer of the season on a 2-2 cutter with one out in the third. Tommy Milone (1-0) then replaced Toronto opener Trent Thornton and gave up Hernandez’s first homer of the season on a 1-2 fastball.
The Blue Jays took the lead in their half of the third on Guerrero’s third career grand slam. Alejandro Kirk and Biggio singled with one out. Bo Bichette walked to load the bases for Guerrero, who hit a 2-1 slider to left center to end an 0-for-11 drought.
The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. Milone was replaced by Anthony Castro, who induced a double-play grounder from Victor Robles.
The Blue Jays scored twice in the bottom of the fourth. Joe Panik led off with a double. Nationals second baseman Josh Harrison muffed a popup to shallow right field, with the three-base error scoring Panik. Biggio’s sacrifice fly gave Toronto a 6-3 lead.
Guerrero led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer on a 3-2 fastball.
Kyle McGowin replaced Scherzer in the sixth.
Toronto’s Joel Payamps allowed a one-out single to Hernandez and Zimmerman’s third homer of the season in the seventh.
Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. His seventh long ball of the season came on Kyle Finnegan’s 1-1 sinker.
Blue Jays reliever Tyler Chatwood pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings with four strikeouts, and Rafael Dolis tossed a 1-2-3 ninth.
–Field Level Media