Opinion | Comeback win on opening day is a relief for the Jays — especially José Berríos

The Blue Jays might go down, but with a lineup this talented they’re never out.

One year after setting the franchise record for home runs, the Jays opened the season by proving they have every intention of being an offensive juggernaut again in 2022. When teams match up against this roster, no lead is safe.

Teoscar Hernández crushed a three-run homer in the fifth and scored the winning run a couple of innings later as the Jays rallied from seven runs down to steal a win away from the Texas Rangers — 10-8 on Friday night at the sold-out Rogers Centre.

The happiest man in the building after the Jays’ improbable comeback likely was No. 1 starter José Berríos, who looked completely out of sorts in his season debut. The 27-year-old might have been a little too amped up for the third opening day start of his career — first with the Jays — and it showed in the results.

Berríos couldn’t seem to command much of anything in his first appearance of the year. After Brad Miller hit a leadoff homer, Berríos walked two of the next three batters he faced and didn’t record an out until No. 6 hitter Adolis Garcia bounced into a fielder’s choice. After Kole Calhoun was hit by a pitch during the next at-bat, Berríos’s night came to a premature end after 34 pitches.

By the time the inning was over, Berríos had been charged with four runs on three hits and a pair of walks, while retiring just one batter. It was the shortest start of his career for him and the first time since his rookie season in 2016 that he was unable to complete his first inning.

After one outing, his ERA sits at 108.00.

Tayler Saucedo and then Trent Thornton entered out of the bullpen as the Rangers upped their lead to 7-0 midway through the fourth. For most teams, that would have been enough to mentally check out and just go through the motions the rest of the way. The Jays, however, had other ideas.

The Jays trimmed the lead to four in the bottom of the fourth after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit an RBI single. while Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Alejandro Kirk each chipped in with an RBI of their own. Then, in the fifth, with the Jays trailing by three, Hernández hit an opposite-field homer to bring the Jays even.

The clubs then exchanged runs before the Jays took the lead for good in the seventh. Hernández started the rally by drawing a two-out rally and then attempting to score all the way from first base on a double by Gurriel. The send from third-base coach Luis Rivera initially looked like it would be a rally killer as Hernández was called out at the plate, but replays later showed his foot de él avoided the tag from catcher Mitch Garver, and after a review the call on the field was overturned.

Initially called out on a close play at the plate, Jays baserunner Teoscar Hernandez was ruled safe after a review in the seventh inning, putting the home team ahead to stay at the Rogers Center.

That capped an all-around impressive night for Hernández, who was honored before the game with last year’s Silver Slugger Award. I have finished 1-for-2 with a home run, a pair of walks and two runs scored. The man who finished last season ranked third in the AL with 116 RBIs as a fixture in the heart of the Jays lineup, appears to have picked up right where he left off.

For the Jays franchise this win had to feel a bit cathartic. This marked the first home opener the Jays have won since 2011, dating back to John Farrell’s managerial debut. Since then, they had gone 0-9, not including the last two seasons which both began in the United States because of the pandemic. There were some talented teams that played here over those years, just none that happened to make a good first impression.

This year’s version of the Jays seemed destined for a similar fate. Down and out after four innings, only to be resuscitated by the offence. It won’t be the only time that is written about this year’s team. With an offense as deep and skilled as this one, turning a perceived loss into a win might become a regular occurrence.


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