Vlad Jr. makes Oracle Park debut as Giants host Blue Jays

 nbcsports.com  05/15/2019 01:35:03 

The Giants will employ a fresh strategy against one of MLB's freshest faces. 

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will make his Oracle Park on Tuesday night, while San Francisco will use relief pitcher Nick Vincent as an opener. The Giants have allowed 42 runs in the first inning this season, and they're hoping this new strategy will improve their first-inning efforts.

Guerrero Jr. is batting just .191 through his first 13 MLB games, but went 3-for-6 in the last two games of the Blue Jays' weekend series with the Chicago White Sox. The son of Baseball Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, Guerrero Jr. is MLB Pipeline's top-rated prospect. He slashed .333/.400/.578 across three levels of the minors last season, finishing 2018 with Triple-A Buffalo. 

Here's how the Giants and Blue Jays are set to line up Tuesday night in San Francisco. You can watch the game on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app, with coverage beginning at 6 p.m.

Toronto Blue Jays (16-24)1. Eric Sogard, 2B2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B3. Justin Smoak, 1B4. Randal Grichuk, RF5. Freddy Galvis, SS6. Billy McKinney, LF7. Jonathan Davis, CF8. Danny Jansen, C

9. Trent Thornton, RHP (0-4, 5.06 ERA)

[RELATED: Giants top pitching prospect to start Wednesday]

San Francisco Giants (17-23)1. Joe Panik, 2B2. Steven Duggar, RF3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B4. Brandon Belt, 1B5. Stephen Vogt, C6. Kevin Pillar, CF7. Brandon Crawford, SS8. Mac Williamson, LF

9. Nick Vincent, RHP (0-1, 2.25 ERA)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Well ... that wasn't any better.

The Giants' first experiment with the opener blew up in their faces Tuesday night when reliever Nick Vincent continued the season-long theme of falling behind early. Making the second start of his career, Vincent became the first reliever to kick off a game for the Giants since openers became popular last season, but he allowed three runs and didn't make it back out for the second. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got it going with a rocket to dead center, his first career homer. Freddy Galvis and Billy McKinney added RBI doubles in the 31-pitch inning. 

Vlad Jr. is on the board. This was an absolute rocket: pic.twitter.com/fW1b072ujO

— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 15, 2019

Vincent gave up four hits, with no walks or strikeouts mixed in during an inning that was so long that fellow reliever Trevor Gott started warming up. Vincent had not allowed more than two runs in an appearance all season. The outing was the continuation of a theme for the Giants, who have been outscored 45-5 in the first inning this year. 

"I think it's pretty obvious we've had our struggles here early in games," manager Bruce Bochy said before the game. "So you break it up a little bit."

[RELATED: Giants top pitching prospect Anderson to start Wednesday]

Tyler Beede, originally scheduled to start Tuesday, took over in the top of the second, although that wasn't much smoother. He loaded the bases before getting out of the jam with a pop-up. 

It took 14 games, but Vlad Guerrero Jr. is finally on the board.

In the top of the first inning on Tuesday night, baseball's top prospect crushed a four-seam fastball from Nick Vincent over the center field wall at Oracle Park for his first major league home run.

The solo shot gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead over the Giants.

You'll never forget where you were for this one!#LetsGoBlueJays pic.twitter.com/ZeuDRgHXi2

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 15, 2019

#BlueJays 1 @ #SFGiants 0 [T1-1o]:Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homers (1): fly ball to CF (solo)Hit: 438.37ft, 111.34mph=%, 23.15=

Pitch: 89.9mph Four-Seam Fastball (RHP Nick Vincent, 3) pic.twitter.com/kF6Cp2gcYA

— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) May 15, 2019

The Giants installed Vincent as the opener in an attempt to solve their problem of giving up runs in the first inning. It clearly didn't work, as Toronto would go on to add two more runs in the inning.

[RELATED: Giants top pitching prospect to start Wednesday]

But this isn't about the Giants. It's about Vlad Jr. This was the first of many home runs. The Giants may not be entertaining us right now, but the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero will likely be hitting homers for the next 20 years.

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