Danny Jansen lifts Blue Jays over Braves 6-5 for three-game sweep of Atlanta
TORONTO — Danny Jansen didn't mind that the chilly, windy conditions at Rogers Centre on Sunday were not favourable for an ice bath because the post-game dunking by his teammates meant he did something exceptional.
Jansen's walk-off two-run single in the ninth inning gave the Blue Jays a 6-5 come-from-behind win and a series sweep against the Atlanta Braves. After an on-field interview where he gave a shout-out to his mother Kathy and his wife Alexis and then got ice water poured on him by Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
"It's always nice to get the ice bath because that means you did something special," Jansen said. "It was a special day anyway, with this being my wife's first Mother's Day."
Alexis and Danny Jansen welcomed their son Joseph into the world last October. Jansen also mentioned that his mom was watching Toronto's 12th win in 15 home starts this season back home.
It was a sloppy game from both sides, but the Blue Jays (24-16) will take a three-game win streak into a challenging 10-game homestand. The American League-rival New York Yankees arrive in Toronto on Monday for a four-game series and the Baltimore Orioles follow them with a three-game weekend set.
"Winning at this level is hard, and winning against a team like (Atlanta) three games in a row is really hard," Toronto manager John Schneider said. "So, for sure, you always take a win."
Down a run, the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the ninth inning before a Mother's Day crowd of 40,895.
Jansen's basehit between third and shortstop to score Guerrero and Matt Chapman.
The Braves (25-15) smacked three homers off Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi to enjoy an early 5-3 advantage.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Kevin Pillar hit solo shots in the first and fourth innings, respectively, while Ozzie Albies had a two-run homer in the third for the National League-leading Braves.
After Kikuchi departed, the Blue Jays bullpen stepped up with five shutout innings. Anthony Bass and Jay Jackson each tossed an inning. Trevor Richards was effective for two innings, and Nate Pearson (1-0) pitched the ninth.
"It is a big boost to have guys come in and keep the game where it should be," Schneider said. "I feel the guys in the middle innings get looked over sometimes, and you can't ignore what they did today.
"It allowed (George Springer) to hit the homer, and it allows for the comeback in the ninth inning."
With injuries to starters Max Fried (left forearm) and Kyle Wright (right shoulder), the Braves turned this game over to the bullpen, beginning with opener Collin McHugh, who lasted only 1 2/3 innings.
Atlanta employed six different pitchers, with Raisel Iglesias (1-1) earning the loss for his shaky ninth inning, including a long single off the right-field wall to Guerrero, a walk to Chapman and an infield hit from Brandon Belt.
Acuna drilled the game's third pitch into the second deck in left field, and Michael Harris II singled home Marcell Ozuna in the second inning for a 2-0 lead for the visitors.
The Blue Jays sent nine batters to the plate in the second inning to score three times thanks to an RBI single from Brandon Belt and a two-run hit from Guerrero.
But the 3-2 Toronto lead was short-lived. Albies smoked a two-run homer to left field in the third inning, and former Blue Jays outfielder Pillar sent a solo shot on a similar path in the fourth.
Toronto pulled within a run with Springer's fifth homer of the year to lead off the fourth inning.
Guerrero extended his on-base streak to 19 games with his two-out, two-run single to centre field in the second inning.
The Blue Jays first baseman began the afternoon with the third-longest active on-base streak in Major League Baseball.
Alek Manoah (1-3) will start for the Blue Jays in the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees on Monday. The Yankees have yet to name a starter for the series opener.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2023.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press