TORONTO — Davis Schneider will be in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup for the series finale against the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday, even though a right-handed pitcher in Noah Syndergaard will start for the visitors.
The right-handed hitting Schneider belted three hits, including a two-run homer, and knocked in three runs in the Blue Jays' 8-3 win against the Guardians (61-69) on Saturday.
The red-hot rookie infielder also scored three times to help the home side end a three-game slide before 41,924 at a closed-roof Rogers Centre. For some dessert, Schneider snared a Gabriel Arias line drive for the second out in the ninth inning.
All this brilliant play came after a week of sitting on the bench because the Blue Jays (71-59) faced five straight starting right-handed pitchers since the 24-year-old Schneider smacked the game-winning homer in the fifth inning in Cincinnati on Aug. 19.
"Yes sir," Toronto manager John Schneider answered when asked if his rookie will start Sunday. "I've been saying the whole year we try to find the right spots for everyone. With 32 games left now, performance definitely matters within that equation as well.
"So yeah, it's not too tough (of a decision) when you're doing when he's doing."
Only Carlos Delgado has hit more home runs with five in Blue Jays history in his first 10 Major League Baseball games than Schneider's four.
The New Jersey native also ranks second in times on base (21), tied for third in RBIs (nine), tied for third in runs scored (eight) and fourth in hits (14) through the first 10 MLB career games in Blue Jays history.
"Every day, you want to go out there and try your best," Davis Schneider said. "It was pretty cool today to do what I did. But tomorrow is the next day, so you just got to make the most of it."
Schneider went 3-for-3 with a fifth-inning walk. His homer in the first inning broke a 1-1 tie to give Toronto a two-run lead.
He doubled and scored in a two-run fourth inning and knocked in another run with a single as part of a three-run seventh.
His teammates and manager lauded the second baseman for staying sharp with diligent work on his defence and his offence with hitting coaches Guillermo Martinez and Hunter Mense.
"It is cool to hit get hits off those guys that you have seen on TV a couple of years ago and had success in the league," Davis Schneider said.
Ramirez put Cleveland out front in the first inning with a solo shot rocket to the left-field seats. But Toronto's Whit Merrifield led off with a double and scored on Bo Bichette's single to left centre.
Hitting in the fifth slot, Schneider belted a two-out, two-run homer.
Toronto made it 5-1 in the fourth inning. Schneider led off with a double, and Danny Jansen followed with a single.
Schneider scored on Matt Chapman's single, and Jansen later scored on Santiago Espinal's sacrifice fly to centre.
Cleveland's Tyler Freeman crushed his first career homer in the fifth inning. The Guardians loaded the bases in the sixth inning with none out thanks to errors from Toronto infielders Chapman and Espinal. But Cleveland only cashed in a run when reliever Yimi Garcia hit Ramon Laureano in the left wrist to close the gap to two runs that widened to five with the three-run seventh.
Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu (3-1) was lifted after 70 pitches, and Cleveland loaded the bases in the sixth inning. He was charged with three runs on four hits. He had five strikeouts.
Guardians lefty Logan Allen (6-7) lasted four innings. He was on the hook for five runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
After a ground out and a single to Cleveland's Myles Straw, Toronto reliever Erik Swanson departed in the seventh inning, suffering right mid-back discomfort.
Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (9-4) will face Syndergaard (2-6) in Sunday's rubber match.
The Blue Jays selected Syndergaard in the first round (38th overall) of the 2010 MLB draft. But he was traded as part of the deal to land Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets in December 2012.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 26, 2023.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press