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Jays Win A Close One (aren’t all their wins close?)

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Royals 4 Blue Jays 5

For six innings, that was a terrible game to watch. Thankfully, they play nine innings.

We did get a run in the sixth. Kevin Keirmaier led off the inning with a triple, and, an out lately, Bo Bichette doubled. A pair of walks loaded the bases, but one was all we’d get.

Then came the seventh. Alejandro Kirk hit a ground ball that went off the pitcher, Austin Cox, and to the first baseman. Cox went to first, but Kirk beat him to the bag (there is a sentence I never thought I’d write). Before he got to the bag, Cox went down in a lot of pain.

I don’t want to guess what the injury might be, but it was something in his lower leg. He was helped off the field.

There was a delay while the next Royals’ pitcher, Carlos Hernandez, got ready.

Tyler Heineman, pinch-running, moved to second on a wild pitch. Kiermair made the second out on a fly ball. Then George Springer walked (ball four was a checked swing that the Royal were upset about, and their pitching coach was thrown out of the game for arguing it a couple of batters later.

Bo Bichette doubled to bring in Heineman (tying the game at two). Then Vlad doubled to the wall in left. I thought it was hit harder, but statcast had it at 97.9 mph. The left fielder seemed to give up on it early, so I thought it was hit at over 100 mph. Anyway, that made it 4-2 Jays. One of the weirdest stats of the year, Vlad’s hitting .365/.421/.577 with 2-outs and RISP. Small sample. Late and close he’s .278/.340/.444

A wild pitch moved Vlad to third. Davis Schneider walked. A wild pitch moved him to second.

Ernie Clement, pinch-hitting, singled home one more. 5-2. Whit Merrifield, who wasn’t having a good day, hit a high fly to the left field corner, maybe ten feet short of a home run.

Yusei Kikuchi threw 5 innings, giving up 3 hits (including a Dairon Blanco home run), 1 earned, 1 walk and 8 hits. I thought he should be allowed to, at least, start the sixth. He was at 88 pitches. But then the Royals had three good RH hitters coming up. And the third time through the order.

  • Jordan Hicks pitched a scoreless sixth.
  • Trevor Richards got the first two outs of the seventh but then had a popup that landed between the infield and the outfield. Bad luck. And then a fly ball into the right-field corner that Springer had go off his glove (an expected BA of .070, it was in the air a long time). We were down 2-1. A walk ended Richards’ night.
  • Chad Green got a strikeout to end the inning. Green had a tougher eighth, giving up a one-out double and single to put runners on the corners.
  • Tim Mayza relieved. He gave up a ground ball to third. Ernie Clement got the runner going to second, but the relay was just late. A run scored. A single and a walk loaded the bases.
  • Jordan Romano came in for the four-out save. He got a ground out to end the eighth. The ninth wasn’t as easy. It went walk, strikeout, walk, flyout, single (one run in) and fly to fairly deep center. It was a 29-pitch outing for Romano’s 33rd save.

We had 9 hits. Kiermaier, Bo and Schneider had 2 hits each. Schneider had the Jays first two hits of the game, both doubles.

Springer was 0 for 3, but had that very important walk. Biggio had 2 walks.

Merrifield was 0 for 4. Varsho 0 for 2.

Great to see Bo back.

Jays of the Day: Bo (.322 WPA), Vlad (.219), Romano (.201), Kikuchi (.127) and Schneider (.112).

The Other Award: Merrifield (-.256), and Richards (-.202). Springer was close (-.091, and it would have helped my heart if he had made that catch in right) but the walk was so big.

Tomorrow we have a 3:00 Eastern start. Kevin Gausman (10-8, 3.39) vs, well has the Royals starter as TBD.