Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez and infielder Brandon Drury hope their recent play indicates that better times are ahead for the pair of former trade deadline acquisitions.
Hernandez and Drury each hit two crucial home runs a piece in Blue Jays wild 10-9 come-from-behind win against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
The Blue Jays (40-66) belted out six home runs in total as part of their 16-hit attack. Hernandez clubbed the decisive blast in the 12th inning with a homer to straightaway centre on a 2-2 pitch off one of the best relievers in the game, Emilio Pagan (2-2).
Drury tied the game in the ninth inning with a two-out solo shot, two at-bats after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a three-run blast over the wall in left-centre field.
“At first I didn’t know if it was going to go out,” Hernandez said. “Thank god it did.”
Hernandez and Drury struggled in the first half. But Hernandez now has six homers in the last 10 games, a stretch that has seen him go 11 for 36 (.306) with nine RBI. Drury has hit .333 over his past 14 games with three doubles, five homers and nine RBI as well.
“You have no idea how happy it makes me to, of course, win a game like this, but to see Brandon Drury and Teoscar do what they did,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “They have the tools to do this, and it was great to see.”
Drury, who recently made a move from third base to first, remarked he began to feel good vibrations before the all-star break earlier this month.
“I knew I was going to figure it out at some point,” said Drury, acquired a year ago as part of the trade that sent J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees.
“About a week before the all-star break, I started to feel pretty good. I started to feel something, and it clicked. I’ve been kind of riding that out. There are still two months left in the season, and that’s a lot of at-bats and a lot of games left. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hernandez arrived in a deadline deal as part of the move that sent pitcher Francisco Liriano two years ago.
“I’m not thinking about hitting homers or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just trying to get a good pitch.”
The Rays scored for the final time in the game in the sixth inning to take a 9-2 lead. Drury belted his second single of the game to knock in Guerrero in the bottom of the sixth to start the comeback.
Drury and Hernandez smacked back-to-back homers in the eighth inning to set up the heroics in the ninth and 12th innings.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off the ninth inning with a double, and Randal Grichuk followed up with a walk. That set the table for Guerrero to smack a three-run shot that cleared the left-field wall for his 10th homer of the season.
Drury tied the game with a two-out solo shot to right-centre for the first multi-homer game of his career.
Hernandez ended it with a homer off Rays reliever Emilio Pagan (2-2). Daniel Hudson (6-2) picked up the win in relief for Toronto (40-66) as the Jays tied the three-game series at 1-1.
Blue Jays relievers David Phelps, Ken Giles, Tim Mayza and Hudson did not allow a hit over the final six innings.