TORONTO — Canadians Cal Quantrill and Josh Naylor have shared plenty of special moments, and they added to the list as San Diego Padres teammates on Saturday.
In front of lots of friends and family at Rogers Centre, Quantrill earned his first win in Major League Baseball. Naylor checked in with his first career hit and RBI in the bigs as the Padres banged out 20 hits and a franchise-record seven home runs in a 19-4 win against the struggling Toronto Blue Jays.
"I feel like Josh and I, and I know we’re young, have done a lot together in our careers," Quantrill said. "We have been to the Future Stars game together. We played for Team Canada together. Now we’ve done this together.
"I’m glad we were able to come here and do it. It would have been fine anywhere, but here makes it a little more special."
Quantrill, 24, is from Port Hope, Ont., about an hour east of Toronto. The 21-year-old Naylor hails from Mississauga, Ont., the western neighbour to Toronto.
The two grew up cheering for the Blue Jays. Quantrill’s dad, Paul, was a reliever for the Blue Jays for six of his 13 major league seasons between 1996 and 2001.
In his fourth career start, the younger Quantrill had a nifty mix and employed his slider to keep the Blue Jays at bay. He tossed a two-hitter, struck out nine, walked two and gave up three runs in six innings to improve his record to 1-2.
In his final inning, Quantrill struck out Toronto shortstop Freddy Galvis and then fanned rookie third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. before he walked first baseman Justin Smoak. But he finished his day of work with one final strikeout of designated hitter Rowdy Tellez.
"It was a blast," Quantrill said. "It was tough to contain it at the end. You’re probably not supposed to be yelling when you’re up by 14. But I was just so excited.
"It’s been a dream for a long time to pitch in the big leagues. Now you’re at home and trying to go for that first win. There was excitement to have it done and out of the way."
Quantrill estimated he performed in front of 200 family members and friends, many of whom he visited back in Port Hope during a day off on Thursday.
Naylor, meanwhile, made his major-league debut in the Padres’ 6-3 win on Friday. But he went 0 for 4 as San Diego’s designated hitter in that game.
He played right field on Saturday and went 3 for 6, including two RBIs. He also made a brilliant sliding catch to help out his fellow countryman.
Naylor’s first hit and RBI arrived in the first inning. After Padres leadoff hitter Greg Garcia hit a double, Naylor came up next and lined a shot off the centre field wall to drive Garcia home.
"I wasn’t getting anxious, but I really wanted it to come soon," Naylor said. "I couldn’t do it for my big crowd last night, but I could do it for my semi-big crowd today."
Naylor said he had between 250 and 300 friends and family for his debut outing on Friday. There were closer to 100 supporters among the crowd of 24,212 to see his first hit in person on Saturday.
After his double, he lined out to right field in the third inning, struck out in the fifth and sixth. He was awarded an infield hit and RBI in the seventh inning after Guerrero bobbled the chance and a third hit in the eighth, a slow-rolling single down the third-base line off the end of his bat.
He was pleased his friend Quantrill won his first game.
"I tried to play my butt off for him," Naylor said. "This was a special day. We were up early. We knew we had a chance to get his first win, and we grinded it out."
The Padres led 2-0 after the first inning, 3-1 after two and 7-1 after four thanks to a grand slam home run from catcher Austin Hedges.
Outfielders Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe each belted a pair of home runs, while other homers went to infielders Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer for the Padres fifth win in a row.
The Blue Jays now have lost six of their last nine and have a dismal 6-17 record in May, the third worst in the majors.