TORONTO—Toronto outfielder Teoscar Hernandez hit the cover off the ball as a September call-up last year.
He's doing it again this year since coming up from 'AAA' Buffalo and has made a strong case for remaining with the Blue Jays despite their crowded outfield situation.
Hernandez had four hits yesterday—a homer, triple, and two singles—as Toronto pasted the Kansas City Royals 15-5 to complete a three-game sweep.
Yangervis Solarte also homered while Curtis Granderson belted a grand slam as the Jays (12-5) used a 15-hit attack to extend their winning streak to four games.
Granderson's blast came in a six-run eighth inning and gave Hernandez one last chance to try to bat for the cycle.
“I didn't want the inning to end with me, with him having an opportunity to do something magical,” Granderson said.
“But because of that, it just allowed the body to relax and go ahead and be able to come up in a big way in that situation.”
Hernandez, who struck out in the eighth, was recalled last Friday. He has minor-league options and could be returned to the Bisons.
“I got that confidence from last year because I got the opportunity, I got the chance to show what I got,” he said.
“It makes me feel better every day when I get a chance in the lineup.”
Toronto's outfielder list includes Granderson, Kevin Pillar, Steve Pearce, and Randal Grichuk.
Kendrys Morales is slated to return from the disabled list tomorrow and likely will slot back in as the designated hitter.
It was the first homer of the season for Hernandez and his first career four-hit game. He set rookie records last year with eight homers and 20 RBIs for the month of September and currently is batting at a .421 clip.
It will be a tough call for members of the Jays' brass.
“It's not going to be an easy decision whatever we choose to do, but we'll have to make one,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons.
“But like I said, he can't play any better.”
Starter J.A. Happ (3-1) struck out eight batters over six innings as the Jays improved their record at Rogers Centre to 7-3.
The Royals (3-13) now have lost eight games in a row.
Hernandez and Solarte homered in Toronto's three-run third inning and the Jays pulled ahead to stay with two unearned runs in the fifth.
“We're playing good baseball," Gibbons said. ”The bottom line is we're doing everything well.
“You ride that.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota beat Cleveland 2-1 (16 innings), Detroit nipped Baltimore 6-5, Tampa Bay doubled Texas 4-2, Oakland topped Chicago 12-11 (14 innings), Boston blanked L.A. 9-0, and Houston dumped Seattle 7-1.