TORONTO — Davis Schneider belted three hits, including a two-run homer and knocked in three runs in Toronto Blue Jays' 8-3 win against the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday.
The red-hot rookie infielder also scored three times to help the home side end a three-game slide before 41,924 at a closed-roof Rogers Centre.
The 24-year-old Schneider smacked his fourth homer in 10 games with two out in the opening inning, doubled and scored in the fourth and knocked in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with a hard-hit single to left in the seventh.
Hitting fifth in the order, Schneider later scored in the seventh with George Springer on Daulton Varsho's two-run single to right.
In a puzzling move, Schneider had not played for a week since his game-winning homer in the fifth inning in Cincinnati on Aug. 19.
His three-for-three outing, plus a fifth-inning walk, against Cleveland (61-69) improved Schneider's stats line to a .424 average (14 for 33), four homers, two doubles, eight runs scored and 28 total bases.
To put some icing on his performance, Schneider snared a Gabriel Arias line drive for the second out in the ninth.
After Jose Ramirez slammed a one-out solo homer to left field in the first inning, the Blue Jays (71-59) scored three times in the bottom half.
Whit Merrifield led off with a double and scored on Bo Bichette's single to left centre. Back-to-back first-rate plays on ground balls to second baseman Andres Gimenez and third baseman Tyler Freeman attained forceouts at second.
But then Schneider belted a two-out, two-run homer to left field for a 3-1 advantage.
Toronto made it 5-1 in the fourth inning. Schneider led off with a double, and Danny Jansen followed with a single.
Schneider scored on Matt Chapman's single, and Jansen later scored on Santiago Espinal's sacrifice fly to centre.
Freeman crushed his first career homer in the fifth inning. The Guardians loaded the bases in the sixth inning with none out thanks to errors from Toronto infielders Chapman and Espinal. But Cleveland only cashed in a run when reliever Yimi Garcia hit Ramon Laureano in the left wrist to close the gap to two runs.
Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu (3-1) was lifted after 70 pitches, and Cleveland loaded the bases in the sixth inning. He was charged with three runs on four hits and five strikeouts.
Guardians lefty Logan Allen (6-7) lasted four innings. He was on the hook for five runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
After a ground out and a single to Cleveland's Myles Straw, Toronto reliever Erik Swanson departed in the seventh inning, suffering mid-back discomfort.
Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (9-4) will face Cleveland righty Noah Syndergaard (2-6) in Sunday's series-finale rubber match.
The Blue Jays selected Syndergaard in the first round (38th overall) of the 2010 MLB draft. But he was traded as part of the deal to land Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets in December 2012.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2023.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press