DUNEDIN, Fla. – The nomadic Toronto Blue Jays came up just short in their latest home opener location.
David Fletcher had a two-run single in the 11th inning, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Toronto 7-5 on Thursday night in the first regular-season game played at the Blue Jays' spring training ballpark, which Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said felt like home.
“The Blue Jays (organization) did an outstanding job,” Montoyo said.
Fletcher's hit to center came on the first pitch from Rafael Dolis, who replaced Ryan Borucki (1-1) with runners on second and third and two outs.
“He hit it hard enough, yet soft enough,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “That's what he does. He's a winner.”
Junior Guerra (2-0) worked a scoreless 10th before Raisel Iglesias struck out the side for his second save.
Toronto became the first team in major league history to play home openers in three different cities over three consecutive seasons. The Blue Jays played in Toronto in 2019 and last year moved home games to the ballpark of their Triple-A team in Buffalo, New York, after the Canadian government barred them due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
TD Ballpark, also the home of Toronto's low Class-A minor league club, last year completed a renovation that cost more than $102 million. Four trucks with additional lighting were brought in for this year’s regular-season games. Toronto's first three homestands at least will be played in Dunedin, through mid-May.