Daulton Varsho homered and had five RBIs, Hyun Jin Ryu pitched five innings to win for the first time since returning from elbow surgery, and the Toronto Blue Jays avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Chicago Cubs 11-4 on Sunday.
Whit Merrifield had four hits, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two hits and two RBIs and Brandon Belt reached base four times as the Blue Jays used 14 hits to snap a three-game losing streak.
“It’s what this lineup is capable of,” manager John Schneider said. “When you’re getting production at the bottom and turn it back over to the top, you see what happens.”
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The Cubs lost for the seventh time in 25 games. Chicago is 19-10 since the All-Star break and 8-4 in August.
“Three-run homers are huge, and two-run singles with two outs are huge,” Schneider said.
Chicago’s Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run home run off right-hander Jay Jackson in the seventh, his 20th.
Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson had two hits, including a two-run double in the first. Belt’s fielding error at first base on Ian Happ’s grounder meant the runs were unearned.
The left-handed Ryu (1-1) allowed two runs, none earned, and two hits in his third start since returning Aug. 1 against Baltimore.
“Pretty remarkable,” Schneider said. “He hasn’t really missed a beat. He limits hard contact. Everything that he did before he got hurt is what he’s doing in his first three starts. Just incredible, really, at his age. It’s not that easy. He makes it look very easy.”
Ryu walked two and struck out three for his first big league victory since a road win against the Angels on May 26, 2022. He had Tommy John surgery less than a month later.
On Sunday, Ryu retired his final six batters in order after walking former Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger to begin the fourth.
“I know the velocity is not quite back where he wants it yet but he’s able to pitch,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Ryu. “That changeup is pretty devastating. When you give him a bit of a lead, he’s a tough one to put up big runs against. We needed a mistake on their part to get those first two. He kind of cruised once he got the lead.”
Génesis Cabrera pitched the sixth, Jackson went one inning, Erik Swanson worked the eighth and Nate Pearson finished.
Taillon came in 5-0 over his previous six starts and 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six career starts in Toronto but didn’t fare well in his latest game north of the border. The right-hander gave up a season-high eight earned runs on eight hits in three-plus innings, leaving after three straight singles in the fourth.
“I’ll just regroup, reset and move on,” Taillon said.
Taillon walked two and struck out two.
“Just not his best,” Ross said. “He’s thrown well for us. I think we’ll turn the page on this one really fast.”
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right hip) threw a light bullpen session Sunday and remains on track to come off the IL and start Wednesday against the White Sox, Ross said.
Blue Jays: 3B Matt Chapman was scratched because of inflammation in his right middle finger. Santiago Espinal moved from shortstop to third and Paul DeJong started at short. Schneider said he does not expecting Chapman will miss much time. … Schneider said RHP Jordan Romano (back) remains on track to return Tuesday after pitching a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance at Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday.
Ryu said he had fun squaring off against Bellinger, getting the slugger to fly out in the first before issuing a seven-pitch walk in the fourth.
“He’s probably one of their hardest hitters right now,” Ryu said through a translator. “He was able to foul off some of my good pitches.”
DeJong snapped an 0 for 20 streak with an RBI single in the eighth.
Merrifield leads the AL with 40 hits since the All-Star break.
Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (9-4, 3.53 ERA) starts Tuesday as Toronto hosts Philadelphia. RHP Zack Wheeler (9-5, 3.74) goes for the Phillies.