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Guardians fall to Blue Jays

TORONTO — Daulton Varsho hit his third career grand slam, Ernie Clement added a two-run home run and the Toronto Blue Jays held on to beat the Cleveland Guardians 7-6 on Sunday.

Jose Berrios pitched six innings to end a four-start winless streak as the Blue Jays took two of three from the AL Central leaders.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached base four times and scored a run to help Toronto win for the seventh time in 11.

Varsho batted with the bases loaded three times. He popped to shortstop against Ben Lively in the first inning and struck out against Hunter Gaddis in the eighth, but hit his second grand slam of the season off Nick Sandlin in the fifth.

“It’s one of those things where sometimes you get it done, sometimes you don’t,” Varsho said. “When you do get it done, it feels really good.”

Varsho has a .319 career average with the bases loaded, going 15 for 47.

Toronto is 27-3 when scoring five runs or more, including a 15-0 mark at home.

Berrios (6-5) allowed four runs and matched a season worst by giving up eight hits but won for the first time since May 20. He walked none and struck out one.

After Chad Green pitched the seventh and Brendon Little worked the eighth, Yimi Garcia gave up a two-run home run to Brayan Rocchio in the ninth. Rocchio’s homer was his second of the season.

Garcia left because of a sore elbow after allowing back-to-back two-out hits to Steven Kwan and Tyler Freeman.

“I’m glad he said something, to be honest with you,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Obviously he’s been so, so good.”

Nate Pearson came on and retired Andres Gimenez to strand the tying run at third base, earning his second save in three chances.

“When Nate came in I said ‘You probably thought you weren’t pitching today but here you are, and lock it in,’ and he did,” Schneider said. “That’s a really tough ask against a guy who’s going to put the ball in play.”

Cleveland’s Daniel Schneemann hit his first career home run, a two-run drive off Berrios in the sixth inning. Schneemann finished 3 for 4.

Lively (6-3) allowed a season-high four runs and six hits in four-plus innings, losing for the first time since May 9. The right-hander had won his previous five starts.

“Falling behind just kills you,” Lively said.

Clement opened the scoring with a one-out home run in the second inning, his third of the season.

The Guardians snapped a 17-inning scoreless drought and tied the score with two runs off Berrios in the fifth. Kwan hit an RBI single and a second run scored on Freeman’s double play groundout.

Kwan finished 4 for 5 with four singles in his second four-hit game of 2024.

“It’s a tough task to get him out,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said.

Lively left after walking back-to-back batters to begin the fifth. Sandlin came on but didn’t retire any of the five batters he faced. Guerrero greeted Sandlin with a single and Varsho followed with his team-leading 11th home run.

Sandlin walked George Springer and Alejandro Kirk, then left after giving up Addison Barger’s RBI single. Scott Barlow came on and retired the next three in order.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Shortstop Bo Bichette (right calf) sat for the second straight day. “He’s feeling better today,” Schneider said after the game. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Hopefully it’s not too much longer.”

UP NEXT

Guardians: Right-hander Triston McKenzie (3-3, 4.10 ERA) is expected to start Tuesday as Cleveland hosts Seattle. The Mariners had not announced a starter.

Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 3.26 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday in the opener of a three-game series against Boston. The Red Sox had not announced a starter.

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