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Blue Jays play long ball to snap skid, beat Rays 5-1

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By Dick Scanlon in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen homered in the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 Saturday to end a five-game skid.

Hernandez, who missed three weeks with a sore left oblique, hit his second homer of the season leading off the eighth in a 1-1 game.

“We all know that we needed a big hit like that. It came from my bat, but I know the other guys are going to keep hitting and we’re going to get into a winning streak now,” said Hernandez, who had 32 homers and 116 RBIs last season. “It’s been a long time for me without hitting a ball like that, especially since I was injured, but it’s just about time.”

Jansen was activated Saturday after being sidelined for more than a month with a strained left oblique and hit his third homer in only his ninth at-bat this year. He reached base three times and lined out to the warning track in center field.

“He hasn’t missed a beat,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He looked really good at the plate.”

Both homers came off Ryan Thompson (1-2), who also gave up singles to Santiago Espinal and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the decisive four-run inning that served as a sigh of relief for the Blue Jays.

“To have a four-run lead, that hasn’t happened very often,” Montoyo said. “It was great to see the two-out hits. That’s who we are. When you add on runs, then you don’t have to play tight games.”

Tim Mayza (2-0) got the win in relief after striking out two of his three batters in the seventh.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled in the first inning off Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, and scored on Espinal’s sacrifice fly.

Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena had two hits each for Tampa Bay. Margot stretched his career-high hitting streak to 11 games, during which he is hitting .486.

Yandy Diaz led off the Rays first with an opposite-field, 333-foot home run off left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu for the Rays’ only run. It was Diaz’s third of the season.

Ryu, pitching for the first time since April 16 due to an inflamed left forearm, gave up one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings, striking out three.

“I just wanted to make sure I went deep into the game,” Ryu said through a translator. “I regret the walk I gave up in the fifth inning more than the home run. If I didn’t give up the walk, I could have finished the fifth.”

He threw 71 pitches.

“Besides the great win, it was great to see Ryu do what he did today,” Montoyo said. “What he did was perfect. That’s what we needed. We’ll go from there.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: CF George Springer, who sprained his left ankle Friday night, did not play. Montoyo said Springer will play Sunday if the ankle feels better.

Rays: RHP Pete Fairbanks, who has been on the 60-day injured list all season with a right lat strain, threw a baseball for the first time Saturday.

EXTRA JUICE NEEDED

Before Hernandez’s homer in the eighth, the Blue Jays had four balls caught at the warning track.

“Everybody knows how hard it is to hit a ball out of the park right now because of things that they’ve been doing to the baseball. It’s obvious that they’ve changed the baseballs,” Hernandez said. “It’s been hard, but I got that one pretty good.”

UP NEXT

RHP Alek Manoah (4-0, 1.75), who beat the Rays three times last season and struck out 36 of the 98 Rays he faced in four starts, will pitch Sunday’s series finale against LHP Jeffrey Springs (1-1, 2.12).

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Julia Budzinski, daughter of Blue Jays first-base coach, died in tubing accident

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TORONTO — Julia Budzinski, the 17-year-old daughter of first-base coach Mark (Bud) Budzinski, died in a tubing accident in Virginia on the weekend.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources spokesperson Paige Pearson said in a statement that two girls fell off a tube being pulled behind a boat on the James River on Saturday.

As the boat operator returned to get them out of the water, the boat hit a wave causing it to be pushed on top of a 17-year-old victim, striking her with the propeller.

“It was a very happy, fun last day on earth for her,” Budzinski’s mother Monica, who says she was with her daughter at the boat, said at a vigil at Julia’s Virginia high school Sunday night. “Sadly obviously … but it was happy, laughing, having a good time, and that’s the way I’m going to remember her, that’s the way everybody needs to remember her. She loved life, she loved being outside, sports, everything.

“She’ll live on through all you guys.”

Pearson said foul play is not suspected. Life-jackets were worn and alcohol was not a factor.

Mark Budzinski left the Blue Jays in the third inning of the second game of the team’s doubleheader against the Rays on Saturday after learning of his daughter’s death.

The Blue Jays issued a statement, saying that Budzinski would take some time away from the team to grieve with his family.

There was a moment of silence for Julia before Sunday’s series finale.

“My heart breaks for Bud,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said after Sunday’s game. “There’s good men and great men. He’s a great man. He’s a special kind of person. His family is great. The only thing I can share about what happened is that he left a note for the team. He did this while going through a tragedy, and that tells you everything about him.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Canadian governments OK settlement with Purdue Pharma over opioid addictions

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By Brieanna Charlebois in Vancouver

A proposed $150-million settlement with Purdue Pharma Canada covering all provinces and territories has been reached for the recovery of health-care costs related to the sale and marketing of opioid-based pain medication.

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby said Wednesday that it’s the largest settlement of a governmental health-care cost claim in Canadian history.

The province launched a proposed class-action lawsuit in 2018 against more than 40 drug companies on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments with the aim of recovering health-care costs for the “wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants.”

Eby said the proposed settlement was accepted by governments across Canada and a plan is being worked on to determine how the money will be divided, based on the impact on each province.

“The money will be going to supporting provincial programs to fight the opioid epidemic that we believe Purdue’s actions contributed to through their deceptive marketing,” he said.

Matthew Herder, director of Dalhousie University’s Health Law Institute in Halifax, said the funds could help combat the overdose crisis, but it “all depends on how it’s used.”

“To make sure it actually helps, the people who continue to live the harms of opioid overdose crisis, who have real expertise about how to reduce its ongoing harms — people who use drugs — should be central to the decision making moving forward,” he said in an email.

Dr. Michael Curry, a clinical associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s department of emergency medicine, said he doesn’t think the settlement is large enough help every person who’s been affected by these drugs.

“It is a very small amount of money, especially when you consider that B.C. is probably going to get, proportionately, maybe 12 per cent of the settlement,” he said in an interview.

Over 27,000 people died across the country from toxic street drugs between 2016 and September 2021.

“We took this action to recover health-care costs and to hold opioid companies to account for their part in allegedly engaging in deceptive marketing tactics to increase sales, which led to increased rates of addiction and overdose,” Eby told a news conference.

He said the B.C. government is “committed to aggressively pursuing litigation against the other manufacturers and distributors that put profits before people.”

The cost of the opioid epidemic on provincial health-care systems is “likely in the billions of dollars,” Eby said.

“In the United States, the claims amount to trillions of dollars, and have resulted in the bankruptcy of Purdue’s arm in the United States.”

He said Canada faced the possibility of being grouped into a number of unsecured creditor claims within the U.S. bankruptcy proceeding, where the amount available to the entire group is just $15 million.

The B.C. sanctions allowed Canadian jurisdictions to prevent Purdue from liquidating their Canadian operations to pay American claims, which would have left Canada with nothing after U.S. bankruptcy proceedings, he said.

“So in that respect, this is a remarkable accomplishment for British Columbia and all the provinces in Canada to ensure that Canadians see some proceeds from Purdue’s actions in deceptively marketing.”

In the United States, more than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed by governments, unions, hospitals and other entities in an effort to make drug companies, pharmacies and distributors accountable for their role in the opioid crisis.

American businesses, mostly those that sold or made the drugs, have already faced settlements, judgments and civil and criminal penalties totalling more than $47 billion.

British Columbia’s Mental Health and Addictions Minister, Sheila Malcolmson, called the settlement “an important step forward” in the effort to end the province’s toxic drug emergency.

“We know the settlement will not make up for the lives lost, the terrible loss of loved ones in our communities, so our government remains steadfast in its commitment to end the public health emergency,” she said.

Mike Ellis, Alberta’s associate addictions minister, said in a news release the province supports the proposed settlement.

“Like the rest of Canada, Alberta in the midst of an addiction crisis. The roots of the crisis began years ago with the high rate of opioid prescriptions for acute and chronic pain,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring that Alberta’s portion of the settlement will be reinvested into funding more mental health and addiction services.”

Eby said there are many manufacturers, distributors and their consultants that remain named in the litigation.

“And they are on notice by this settlement that we will be pursuing them aggressively.”

Health Canada said the federal government is exploring “all appropriate options to hold companies accountable for (their) role in the overdose crisis if they acted inappropriately in the marketing and distribution of opioids.”

To limit the marketing of opioids directed at health professionals, all opioid advertising material must be vetted by an advertising preclearance agency before it can be used.

“As of June 2019, all promotional materials are required to follow exactly what is in the product monograph. Health Canada is also identifying non-compliant marketing practices and rigorously enforcing the laws as they exist today,” Health Canada said in a written statement.

British Columbia’s application for certification of its class-action lawsuit has been scheduled to be heard in B.C. Supreme Court in the fall 2023.

The province said certification could open the door to further settlements to recover health-care costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.

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