Blue Jays welcome back Kevin Pillar on an emotional evening
If the lengthy first-inning video tribute of his Toronto Blue Jays highlights didn’t convince the home fans of Kevin Pillar’s value, he wasted little time in reminding them.
He was making his first appearance against the team that traded him away in April. However, the Giants centre fielder opened the scoring in the second inning and hit an RBI single to left field during the Giants’ 7-6 victory on Tuesday evening.
“I’m a hopeless romantic,” Pillar said. “I was hoping for the stars lining up for a second and to get the opportunity to come up there with runners in scoring position in a tie game, and you come up with a big hit.”
Pablo Sandoval went three-for-four and homered for the first time this campaign, one of a season-high four home runs for the offensively challenged Giants.
Meanwhile, Joe Panik homered and drove in three runs. While Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt also went deep for San Francisco. They came into the fixture 29th in the majors in batting and ahead of only one team in terms of home runs. It was the Giant’s first four-homer game since July last year against Arizona.
“It’s got to do a lot for their confidence,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It starts to weigh on you a little bit when you haven’t hit a home run.”
Also, Rowdy Tellez hit his first career grand slam for the Blue Jays. Who saw an end to their four-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, Jeff Samardzija allowed two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Meaning he improved to 3-0 in four starts against the Blue Jays. He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one. Also, Will Smith worked a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
Samardzija said San Francisco was happy to see the attention that Pillar got on his return to the Rogers Centre.
“He should be a rock star,” he said of Pillar. “Guys like that should be pushed more by this league, guys that play hard.”
Toronto trailed 7-2 before Tellez’s one-out, bases-loaded bash during the eighth inning off Tony Watson. He stayed on and finished the inning. It was also Tellez’s first career homer off a left-hander.
“Mentally it’s nice to have a good at-bat against a tough lefty out of the bullpen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trent Thornton lasted for five innings in his fifth MLB start. He gave up four earned runs on six hits and struck out five.
“You know what I like about this team? We don’t quit,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “You never see me smile after a loss, but man, this is pretty cool. That’s what I was thinking on the bench.”
Belt’s home run off Thomas Pannone, which hit the facade of the third deck in right field, was his fifth of the season, and it ended a series of 15 hitless at-bats against left-handed pitching.
The team announced on Tuesday that top prospect Bo Bichette broke a bone in his left hand. After being hit by a pitch while batting for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. The shortstop will visit a hand specialist to determine a course of treatment.