|Yusei Kikuchi threw 5 solid innings in a 4-1 win over the Royals. Kikuchi was the first Blue Jays starting pitcher to get credit for a win.|
After a mediocre start by Jose Berrios in a game that saw Bo Bichette finally get the Blue Jays on the team HR board, the Blue Jays were looking to even the series vs. the Royals and snap the 2-game skid.Yusei Kikuchi, who was mostly a wild and ineffective disaster in 2022, will be looking to parlay an excellent spring training into the regular season. Danny Jansen was behind the plate. George Springer got the half day off as DH with Whit Merrifield in RF. Vlad was back in the field after DH'ing yesterday. Could the Blue Jays snap the 2-game skid? Here is tonight's game recap.
- The Royals opened the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd as Franmil Reyes hammered a solo bomb to the second deck in left-center
- The Blue Jays tied the game in the top of the 3rd as Matt Chapman singled scoring Bo Bichette. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was thrown out at 3B on the play.
- The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the 4th on a wild pitch by Keis Bubic that scored Whit Merrifield
- Kris Bubic pitching line: 5IP 7H 2R (both earned) 1BB 4K 88 pitches (57 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 6th as Daulton Varsho whacked an opposite field solo shot to left and into the Blue Jays bullpen
- Yusei Kikuchi pitching line: 5IP 2H 1R (earned) 1BB 2K 69 pitches (47 for strikes)
- The Blue Jays added a run in the top of the 8th on an odd play where Danny Jansen hit a fly ball that dropped in front of Royals RF Nate Eaton, who was able to get the force out at 2B because Varsho had to wait to see if the ball would be caught. Chapman scored on the play.
- Jordan Romano threw a perfect 9th for his 2nd save of the season.
- Final score: Blue Jays 4 Royals 1
- Hands up if you thought Yusei Kikuchi, a pitcher who was so bad in 2022 that he lost his spot in the starting rotation would be the Blue Jays best starting pitcher after the first turn through the rotation? The Japanese surgeon gave the Blue Jays everything they were hoping for. He threw five innings, gave up just a single run (a solo HR) on three hits while walking 1 and striking out 2, The best stat of the night was the single walk. Kikuchi was absolutely all over the map last season, walking 58 batters. Tonight, he was in control and got efficient outs. Here's hoping he carries this success into his next start, likely the series finale in Anaheim Sunday, where he'll face a pair of former AL MVP's in fellow countryman Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
- The bullpen did its job, giving up just one hit over the final 4 innings, while striking out 5, including four K's from lefty reliever Tim Mayza
- Offensively, the Blue Jays did enough to eke out the victory and manufacturd two of the runs thanks to smart base running.
- Bad baserunning led to outs that should not have happened and negated what could have been big innings. Attention to detail still needs work
- The Blue Jays were 2-11 with runners in scoring position
- Up next, the Blue Jays try for 2 wins in a row and to be guaranteed of at least a series split. Alek Manoah starts against Royals ace and righty Zack Greinke