MLB/ Yusei Kikuchi solid as Blue Jays beat Royals 5

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MLB/ Yusei Kikuchi solid as Blue Jays beat Royals 5-3 for 7th win in 9 THE ASSOCIATED PRE

MLB/ Yusei Kikuchi solid as Blue Jays beat Royals 5-3 for 7th win in 9


April 23, 2024 at 18:20 JST

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Photo/IllutrationToronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on April 22 in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo)

KANSAS CITY, Mo.--Bo Bichette had a bases-clearing triple, Daulton Varsho hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 on Monday night.

The Jays have won seven of nine. The Royals lost their third straight at home after winning their previous nine at Kauffman Stadium.

Yusei Kikuchi (2-1) was efficient early, allowing one baserunner on 48 pitches in the first five innings.

“(Kikuchi) was lights out early, he just ran into trouble on the sixth,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “That’s as efficient as I’ve ever seen him with his pitch count. He was attacking guys, getting weak contact and strikeouts.

“And (we got) huge hits from Bo and Varsho, obviously.”

Kikuchi allowed a two-run home run by Maikel Garcia in the sixth. With two outs, Vinnie Pasquantino hit an infield single and Salvador Perez followed with a double. But Kikuchi retired Nelson Velázquez on a grounder to end the threat.

“My fastball was working really well today,” Kikuchi said through an interpreter. “I was able to throw it up in the zone to a lot to those hitters.”

Right-hander Tyler Duffey, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Omaha earlier Monday, worked two scoreless innings in relief, striking out three.

Jordan Romano surrendered a homer by Kyle Isbel in the ninth but finished for his third save of the season and 100th of his career.

“That’s awesome for him,” Schneider said. “Knowing him for a long time and seeing him as a starter in the minors, a lot of credit goes to him. It’s not easy to do, whether it’s a three-run lead or a one-run lead. He’s been doing it for a number of years now. (I’m) really glad we won, but really happy for him. He’s actually turned himself into a pretty elite closer.”

Brady Singer (2-1) allowed five runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked three, all of whom scored.

“(Singer) was throwing harder at the beginning of the game,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “He had some good movement on his two-seamer and in his breaking ball. He threw a couple four-seamers in there as well. But he really just got hurt by the walks.”

Singer struck out the first two Toronto batters in the second inning, becoming the 19th Royals pitcher to reach 500 career strikeouts. He tied Steve Busby as the fastest Royals pitcher to achieve the milestone, getting there in his 100th appearance.

“I’m fortunate enough to play this game, so it’s really cool,” Singer said.

Singer issued two walks in the third that cost him. His free pass to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. loaded the bases, and Bichette lined a triple off the glove of center fielder Garrett Hampson to score three runs.

Varsho’s homer in the sixth made it 5-0, and the Royals’ two homers weren’t enough.

“The homers are nice,” Quatraro said. “We just need to sustain some things and be able to score in other ways as well.”


Royals: LHP Anthony Veneziano was optioned to Omaha to make room for Duffey.


Blue Jays: RHP Alek Manoah, who has yet to pitch this season because of a shoulder injury, is scheduled to start for Triple-A Buffalo Wednesday or Thursday.


The four-game series continues Tuesday with Toronto sending Kevin Gausman (0-2, 8.16 ERA) to the mound to face Michael Wacha (1-2, 3.75).


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