TORONTO – Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and singled home the winning run in the 11th as the Toronto Blue Jays overcame a four-run deficit to defeat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Monday night.
Jansen connected off Erich Uelmen for his 11th homer, then won it with a base hit to left field against Mark Leiter Jr. (2-6) that scored Matt Chapman from second base and ended Toronto’s three-game skid.
“We love what he does behind the plate, we love what does as a leader of the pitching staff,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said of Jansen. “When he’s hitting like that, it’s a bonus.”
Toronto, chasing an AL wild card, bounced back after a weekend sweep by the Angels that included two shutouts.
“We needed this one and many more,” Blue Jays right-hander Jose Berrios said.
Chicago blew a lead and lost for the 41st time, more than any other big league team.
Cubs outfielder Ian Happ lined out to begin the 10th and shortstop Bo Bichette doubled automatic runner Nelson Velazquez off second base. That was one of five outs Chicago ran into on the basepaths, including one at third and another at the plate.
“We can’t leave so many outs on the bases,” manager David Ross said. “Too many mistakes baserunning-wise that cost us the game, really.”
After Chicago intentionally walked Alejandro Kirk to start the bottom of the 10th, third baseman Christopher Morel turned a double play on Bichette’s grounder. Kirk was initially ruled safe at second, but the Cubs challenged and umpire Nick Mahrley’s call was overturned.
The Cubs put runners at second and third with two outs in the 11th but Yimi Garcia (3-4) struck out P.J. Higgins.
Berrios allowed a season-high 10 hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He slammed his glove onto the dugout bench in frustration after being replaced by left-hander Tim Mayza.
Pinch-hitting for Alfonso Rivas, Higgins greeted Mayza with a two-run double. The hit snapped an 0-for-13 slump and was Higgins’ second in his past 35 at-bats.
Making the second appearance of his career, Cubs right-hander Javier Assad allowed four hits, all singles, in five scoreless innings. He walked two and struck out one.
Assad escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first by getting Biggio to fly out.
After back-to-back hits by Nick Madrigal and Willson Contreras put runners at second and third with one out in the fifth, Toronto turned a unique double play to end the threat. Happ struck out on a pitch that got away from Jansen, who threw to first to complete the strikeout. Madrigal broke for home on the throw, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. threw back to Jansen, who got the tag down just in time.
“That was a wild play,” Jansen said. “You don’t really see it often. It was great on Vladdy getting rid of it right away.”
STRO SHOW RETURNS
The Blue Jays welcomed back Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman to Toronto with a pregame video. Stroman went 47-45 in six seasons with the Blue Jays and started the 2016 AL wild-card game against Baltimore. He was traded to the Mets in July 2019.
Stroman, who has the Toronto skyline tattooed across his left side, will make his first career start against his old team Tuesday. He acknowledged pulling for the Blue Jays to make a postseason push.
“If there’s one team I’m rooting for in the playoffs it’s Toronto,” Stroman said.
ANOTHER CLOSE ONE
The Blue Jays are 26-17 in one-run games and 7-6 in extra innings.
END OF THE LINE
George Springer went 0 for 5 for Toronto, ending his 12-game hitting streak.
Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez (left foot) was held out of the starting lineup. Hernandez started in right field Sunday but appeared unable to run the bases at full speed. He left Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his left foot and did not play Saturday.
Cubs: Chicago put RHP Adrian Sampson and LHP Justin Steele on the restricted list and added LHP Brendon Little as a substitute player. Little was 3-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 29 relief appearances at Triple-A Iowa.
Blue Jays: Toronto claimed OF Bradley Zimmer off waivers from Philadelphia. Zimmer appeared in 77 games for the Blue Jays earlier this season but was designated for assignment Aug. 15. He’s expected to join the team when rosters expand Sept. 1.
Stroman (3-6, 4.10 ERA) faces Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (9-9, 3.15) on Tuesday.