Guerrero hits MLB-leading 45th HR, Blue Jays rout Rays 8-1

Guerrero hit his major league-leading 45th home run, Alek Manoah set a career high by pitching eight shutout innings of one-hit ball, and the Toronto Blue Jays routed the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Monday night.

Teoscar Hernández had his first career five-hit game and Bo Bichette added a solo homer, his 24th, as the surging Blue Jays improved to 12-1 in September.

“Tonight, in all facets of the game, the Blue Jays just dominated us,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said.

The AL East-leading Rays, outhit 17-2, lost for the fourth time in five games and are 5-7 this month after going 21-6 in August.

“We hate losing games, don’t get me wrong,” Kiermaier said, “but no one is hanging their head or slouching their shoulders after the last four or five days.”

Facing left-hander Adam Conley in the sixth, Guerrero lined a 3-1 pitch down the left-field line, breaking a tie with Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way star, for most home runs in the big leagues.

Guerrero’s homer had a launch angle of 15 degrees, tying San Diego’s Manny Machado (Aug. 20 against Philadelphia) for the lowest on a home run that cleared the fence this season.

“I think the third baseman jumped,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I thought it was going to hit the wall — there was no way it was going out. When it went out I went, ‘Oh my God.’ Not many people can do that.”

With his homer, Guerrero also eclipsed the single-season high set by his dad with Montreal in 2000. The drive came off the bat at 113.9 mph and was projected at 356 feet.

Toronto leads the majors with 232 home runs this year.

Kiermaier climbed the wall to make a spectacular catch on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s deep drive in the seventh.

“Awesome play by KK,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Gurriel had three hits and two RBIs, and Breyvic Valera added three hits and drove in three runs as the Blue Jays maintained their position atop the crowded AL wild-card chase. Toronto began the day tied with Boston, but the Blue Jays have played two fewer games than the Red Sox.

“We know what’s at stake, we know what we’re playing for,” Manoah said. “Huge series right here, got to get as many as we can and keep it going.”

With 17 hits in all, it was another offensive outburst by the Blue Jays, who scored 22 runs against Baltimore on Sunday. That came one day after Toronto put up 22 runs in a doubleheader against the Orioles.
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