TORONTO — Two Cubs relievers made their major-league debuts in the 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday with contrasting results.
Before the game, the Cubs selected right-handed reliever Jeremiah Estrada as their second substitute player in Toronto.
The Cubs already had put pitchers Justin Steele and Adrian Sampson on the restricted list because of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements for entry. They added left-handed reliever Brendon Little as a substitute player Monday.
Little was the first to debut. He replaced starter Marcus Stroman, who held the Jays to one run in five innings.
Little hit the first batter he faced, then slipped trying to field a swinging bunt from Matt Chapman. He allowed a go-ahead three-run home run to Teoscar Hernandez. He exited after two-thirds of an inning.
“I think Brendon had some things speed up on him a little,” manager David Ross said.
“Settled down, was able to get two outs.”
Estrada entered in the eighth. He struck out two in a scoreless inning.
“Jeremiah did a nice job coming in, doing what he does,” Ross said. “He’s got a really good fastball. Threw the ball extremely well, got some swing-and-miss in there.”
Contreras leaves game
Catcher Willson Contreras said he woke up with tightness in his left ankle, and the pain “came out of nowhere.” He had been dealing with soreness in his ankle, then foot since the ‘‘Field of Dreams’’ game almost three weeks ago, but it had been feeling better.
In the fourth inning, he hobbled around the bases after hitting a solo home run for the first run of the game. When he sat down in the dugout, Ross asked him if he wanted to come out. Contreras asked to keep catching at least until his spot in the batting order came up again.
“I wanted to stay in for Stroman,” Contreras said. “That was my main focus, stay in the game for him and get him through the fifth inning.”
Alfonso Rivas pinch-hit for him in the sixth.
“I wanted to stay in the game,” Contreras said, “but at this point, I have to listen to my body and do what’s right for me and for the team.”
Ross said Contreras felt better after treatment, but the team would evaluate him Wednesday.
Morel snaps skid
Christopher Morel snapped an 0-for-18 slump in a big way. After the Jays tied the score in the fifth inning, he regained the lead for the Cubs in the sixth with a leadoff homer.
Before that at-bat, Contreras had told him to just try to make contact, like he was playing pepper. Morel, batting ninth in the order, went 2-for-4.
Davis returns to Triple-A
In outfield prospect Brennen Davis’ first game back with Triple-A Iowa, he went 1-for-3 with a homer. Davis (back surgery) played five rehab games with Single-A South Bend before rejoining the I-Cubs.