A sweep! The Jays complete their tour of the the bottom of four other divisions (the NL East and West and AL West and Centra) going 9-3, back in possession of the third wildcard. Good teams need to take advantage of stretches like this, and they did. Now things get serious, with a series against the fourth place wildcard (Texas) and five straight division rivals to wrap up the season.
Jose Berrios nearly got into some trouble in the first. Sal Perez lined one high off the wall in right that the Jays were lucky ended up being a long single and walked MJ Melendez, but escaped without giving up a run.
The second was smoother, with a K and a couple of ground outs, and the third, fourth, and fifth were equally easy. He sat down 13 Royals in a row before Kyle Isbel lined a triple into the right field corner to lead off the sixth. He then walked Maikel Garcia, but Alejandro Kirk caught him stealing second. That ended up mattering, because Bobby Witt jr. lined a double to left to cash Isbel and put KC up 1-0. Witt then stole third and came home on a Perez ground out to extend the lead to two.
Berrios came back for the seventh and worked around two singles by striking out three. His final line was 7.0 IP, 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. A very good day overall.
Yimi Garcia started the eighth. He gave up a single to Witt, who stole second, but recorded two outs before giving way to Genesis Cabrera, who got the third.
There was a little drama in the ninth. Jordan Romano gave up a leadoff single to Edward Olivares, and a double to Nick Loftin that moved Olivares to third. He got a couple of strike outs and a fly out to shut it down, though, and secured the win.
Cole Ragans looked impressive. He was running his fastball up to 99 regularly, and struck out the first two Jays batters in a clean first inning. He battled his command a bit in the second, walking Davis Schneider and Whit Merrifield, but a double play from Kirk and a pop up prevented them from scoring.
George Springer broke up the no hitter with two outs in the third, lining a soft single into right. Vlad Guerrero jr. added a third walk in the fourth, but the Jays were still unable to get on the board. The futility continued in the fifth, with Ragans sitting the Jays down in order.
He retired the first two batters in the sixth, but then lost the plate again, walking Vlad and Schneider. On his first pitch to Kirk, he tripped in his delivery and sailed it to the backstop to advance the runners. The next pitch also sailed, scoring Vlad and bringing Schneider to third. Incredibly, his third pitch did the same, bringing Schneider home to tie it at 2. I’ve never seen three wild pitches in a row before, and none were within eight feet of the zone. His fourth pitch was also high, sending Kirk to first. Royals skipper Matt Quatraro finally had mercy on his rookie starter and pulled him from the game. Reliever Taylor Clarke got Merrifield to pop out to end the inning.
In the seventh, Kevin Kiermaier put the Jays on top 3-2 with a two out solo shot. Collin Snider relieved Clarke and walked Springer and Bo Bichette but got Guerrero to fly out.
Toronto added a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Kirk singled and was lifted for pinch runner Daulton Varsho. Merrifield advanced him to third with a single of his own, and Santiago Espinal laid down a bunt single to score Varsho. Cavan Biggio added the Jays’ fourth hit in a row to cash Merrifield and make it 5-2, which would be the final score.
Jays of the Day: Berrios (0.109), Vlad (0.142), Schneider (0.166), Kiermaier (0.208)
The Texas Rangers come to town tomorrow night for a pivotal four game series. Win, and the Jays will have a stranglehold on at least the third wildcard spot. Dane Dunning (9-6, 3.88) will represent Texas, while Toronto will turn to Chris Bassitt (14-7, 3.69)