As far as family reunions go, this one was brief. One inning to be precise.
Toronto Blue Jays rookie Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 24, said he was relishing the opportunity to play against his older brother, Yuli, for the first time in Major League Baseball.
Yuli Gurriel, who is 34, plays for the Houston Astros, who began a three-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
But the on-field celebration ended abruptly in the bottom of the first inning when the Toronto third baseman had to leave the game with a left hamstring tightness sprinting to first base after hitting into a double play.
The Astros would go on to record a 5-3 victory in a game that featured the return of former Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna, whose reputation has been sullied after he was charged by Toronto police with assault against a female back in May.
The former fan favourite was traded away at the July 31 trade deadline by Toronto to the Astros having served a 75-game suspension imposed by MLB after it conducted its own investigation into the incident.
Osuna entered the game in the bottom of the ninth to protect the two-run lead and was summarily booed by many of the 20,000-plus in attendance as he jogged onto the field from the outfield bullpen to begin his warmup.
The boos continued as Osuna went about his work, seemingly unbothered, as he struck out Billy McKinney, the first Toronto batter.
The crowd’s mood lightened somewhat when Richard Urena poked a single to centre but a fly-out by Rowdy Tellez followed by a pop-out by Yangervis Solarte provided Osuna with his 19th save of the season.
Osuna’s next court date to deal with the criminal charge is on Tuesday in Toronto. As a result, his Toronto-based lawyer instructed him not to speak to the media before or following Monday’s game.
AJ Hinch, the Houston manager, was not worried about inserting his closer into the game considering the off-field issues Osuna is also dealing with.
“I think he wanted the save,” Hinch said when asked what Osuna must have been feeling when he first took the field. “I think he wanted the ball like he always does. I’m sure it was emotional for him.”
As for the adverse reaction from the crowd, Hinch was equally succinct.
“It was pretty expected,” he said.