The Toronto Blue Jays hadn't played a game in Toronto since Sept. 29, 2019, when they finished up a 67-win season in front of 25,000-plus fans at Rogers Centre. Since then, the Jays made the playoffs and became buyers in front of the 2021 trade deadline while having called Buffalo, N.Y., and Dunedin, Florida, makeshift homes.
The Toronto fans were surely itching to see their now-competitive team come back.
On Friday night, they did. The Blue Jays were back home in Toronto.
And they sent the 13,446 fans -- the most they were allowed to have under the pandemic rules -- home happy with a 6-4 victory. They are now 52-48 on the season and within striking range of a playoff spot.
Teoscar Hernández didn't make the Blue Jays faithful wait long for a big moment. The All-Star slugger hammered a no-doubter to left field to open the scoring in the bottom of the second.
A 3-0 Blue Jays lead was cut to 3-2 in the sixth inning, but in the bottom of the seventh, the home team rallied for a three-spot with the big blow being a two-run shot from Bo Bichette.
And how about this for a final out. A barehand catch from Santiago Espinal:
It'll be interesting to see if playing back in Toronto has an impact on their fortunes. Heading into Friday night, the Jays were 22-22 at "home" and 29-26 in road games. They have a heavily tilted home schedule the rest of the way, too, with 26 road games and 36 left at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays headed into Friday night 4 1/2 games out of the second AL wild card spot.