TORONTO — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the first player to go deep in his first plate appearance following a Home Run Derby win, Brandon Belt drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2 on Friday night.
Matt Chapman had three hits and an RBI and Whit Merrifield drove in two runs as Toronto opened the second half of the season with its sixth win in seven games.
The Blue Jays are 17-7 against NL opponents. Toronto is 51-41, a season-best 10 games above .500.
“I liked the way we played,” Guerrero said through a translator. “We’re going to continue to play with the same intensity. It’s excellent right now.”
Guerrero led off the second with a 426-foot drive off Arizona starter Ryne Nelson for his 14th home run.
“Before the Derby and in the previous series, I was starting to feel pretty good at the plate,” Guerrero said. “When I start feeling comfortable at the plate, obviously things are going to be better.”
Guerrero won the All-Star Home Run Derby in Seattle on Monday night, matching Vladimir Guerrero Sr.’s 2007 title to become the first father-son duo to accomplish the feat. The younger Guerrero is the first Blue Jays player to win a Home Run Derby crown.
Guerrero is the fifth player to homer in his first game after the All-Star break and the first to do so in his first plate appearance. He connected on a 2-2 slider from Nelson.
“It just kind of slipped out of my hand, popped a little bit, right where he wants it,” Nelson said. “Right there, that’s a pitch I have to execute and not leave it over the plate.”
Nelson gave up two runs, one earned, and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Arizona made two errors and had three runners thrown out on the bases, including two in the first inning. The Diamondbacks have lost six of eight.
“We ran into an inning worth of outs on the bases,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We just weren’t very heads up. We did not play anything close to the game that we normally play.”
The teams met for the first time since an offseason trade that sent outfielder Daulton Varsho north of the border in exchange for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and catcher Gabriel Moreno. Both former Blue Jays players were cheered during pregame introductions, and Gurriel received an ovation before his first at-bat as the designated hitter.
Belt drove in Kevin Kiermaier with a fielder’s choice grounder in the seventh when the Diamondbacks couldn’t turn a double play on Belt’s grounder to second baseman Ketel. George Springer’s slide into the legs of shortstop Geraldo Perdomo helped prolong a five-run inning for Toronto.
“It wasn’t the cleanest exchange from Ketel and then the throw pulled (Perdomo) across the bag,” Lovullo said. “There were a lot of things today that didn’t go the way we normally expect to see it done.”
Guerrero followed with a base hit, Chapman hit an RBI double and Merrifield made it 6-2 with a two-run single.
Merrifield later scored on Marte’s throwing error.
Blue Jays right-hander Trevor Richards (1-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win despite allowing Moreno’s game-tying home run in the top of the seventh.
Diamondbacks reliever Kyle Nelson (4-2) took the loss, retiring just one of the three batters he faced.
Arizona cut a 2-0 deficit in half in the fourth when Marte scored on a wild pitch by Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos.
Berríos allowed one run and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Moreno tied it by homering off Richards in the seventh, his third.
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (Tommy John surgery) will pitch for Triple-A Buffalo Saturday. Ryu pitched four scoreless innings in his previous rehab start, July 9 with Class-A Dunedin.
The previous player to homer in his first game following a Home Run Derby triumph was Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder in 2009.
Ten different players had at least one hit for Toronto, who finished with 16. It’s the second time this season the Blue Jays have had at least 10 players record a hit. Thirteen Toronto players had a hit in a May 23 win at Tampa Bay.
Indy 500 champion Josef Newgarden, in town for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto, threw out the first pitch.
Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (7-5, 3.03 ERA) starts Saturday against Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (11-3, 3.04 ERA).