Grichuk, Springer Lift Blue Jays In Comeback Win Over Braves

George Springer hit his first two home runs in a Toronto uniform in Saturday night’s win over Atlanta. (Credit: Toronto Blue Jays)

DUNEDIN – Randal Grichuk’s tenth-inning single scored Santiago Espinal with the winning run in the Blue Jays’ 6-5 comeback win over the Braves on Saturday night.

The win was the sixth in the last eight games for the Blue Jays, who are now on the sunny side of .500 at 13-12. Charlie Montoyo’s team will go for a series sweep of the Braves on Sunday afternoon.  

Toronto was able to come back from 4-0 and 5-2 deficits thanks in large part to George Springer, who hit his first two home runs in a Jays uniform.

Following a walk to Alejandro Kirk leading off the third, Springer launched his first homer to cut the 4-0 deficit in half.

His second homer tied the score at 5-5 in the seventh and had TD Ballpark buzzing. Springer’s blast carried over the left field wall and a screen separating the ballpark from the property of an elementary school. It was estimated to have traveled 470 feet.

“It’s exciting to help the team for the first time in a long time,” said Springer. “I was happy to help the team in a big spot. It was a huge win for us against a great team.”

Springer made his season debut Wednesday night against the Nationals and has been serving as the DH until he is fully recovered from a left oblique strain suffered during spring training.

For Grichuk, his game-winning hit came four innings after he was thrown out trying to score the tying run in the sixth. His single plated Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to make it 5-3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with a double down the left field line that scored Teoscar Hernandez with Grichuk getting cut down on shortstop Dansby Swanson’s relay.

With runners on first and third with two out in the tenth, the Braves’ Nate Jones intentionally walked Cavan Biggio after falling behind 3-1 to load the bases. That set the stage for Grichuk.

“Anytime a team doesn’t show you the respect you think you deserve, obviously that is your opportunity to do something special for the team,” said Grichuk, when asked about Biggio being intentionally passed to get to him.

The Braves gave starting pitcher Charlie Morton a 4-0 lead in the second inning on Cristian Pache’s grand slam. Pache was recalled from the Braves’ alternate training site earlier in the day. He started in center and batted ninth.

The 22-year-old’s slam hit the support of a mobile lighting unit beyond the left field wall and was estimated to have traveled 411 feet. It was not only the first regular season home run of Pache’s career, but also his first RBIs.

Pache, who debuted last year and homered in the NLCS against the Dodgers, opened the season with the Braves and went 4-for-30 (.133) in 11 games. He was placed in the IL April 14 with a left groin strain before being optioned the alternate site.

The three-game series with the Braves concludes Sunday afternoon, first pitch 1:07. The Blue Jays embark on a 10-game trip the begins Monday night in Oakland. Following four games with the A’s, they work their way back east with three games in Houston and then three in Atlanta.

The Jays return to Dunedin for a 10-game homestand that gets underway Friday, May 14 against the Phillies.

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.