Bo Bichette believes the Blue Jays’ offensive burst on Monday will help get Toronto’s hitting back on track. But to do that, he and his teammates have to stick to their process.
Bichette and Matt Chapman each hit a solo homer as the Blue Jays beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2. Bichette drove in another run with an eighth-inning single on a 3-for-5 night.
Pinch hitter Alejandro Kirk’s single scored two for Toronto (19-17) and Raimel Tapia had an RBI single to support starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (2-1) in one of his best outings of the major league season.
“To see [Kikuchi] being aggressive, going after hitters, I think that’s huge for him,” Bichette said. “He’s been getting better. Hopefully he continues to learn more and be aggressive and build off of this.”
Kikuchi allowed only one hit in six innings with six strikeouts. He matched his longest game of the season, a 2-1 victory over the Yankees in New York on May 4, and it was the fewest hits and runs he allowed all year.
He said his continued improvement is due to the guidance of Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker.
“Pete mentioned trying to throw a ‘bitter’ that was basically a bigger cutter,” Kikuchi said through translator Kevin Ando. “Just throwing that with that intent. It felt great after one or two throws, so I stuck with it.”
Eugenio Suarez homered in the seventh for Seattle (16-20) and Adam Frazier added an RBI single in the ninth.
Chris Flexen (1-6) allowed six hits for three runs but struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings. Penn Murfree, Wyatt Mills and Roenis Elias all came out of the Mariners’ bullpen.
“Obviously [Flexen] he had a couple of home run errors, but other than that, I think he threw the ball really well,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “We didn’t do anything offensively for him.”
Bichette threw a 2-2 pitch from Flexen over the left-field fence to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the first. It was his third home run of the season and a small section of fans near the home run landing spot began chanting “MVP!” while Bichette rounded up the bases.
Chapman followed with his own home run in the second. With two outs, he threw a pitch to deep center field for his sixth of the year.
Kikuchi’s no-hit attempt was broken in the fifth when Mariners left fielder Jesse Winker bounced a double down the first base line. However, Kikuchi walked out of the inning without allowing any runs.
Raimel Tapia increased Toronto’s lead with a two-out single to left field in the sixth inning. His base hit against Murfree drove pinch runner Vinny Capra from second base for a 3-0 lead. That race was charged to Flexen.
Kirk pinch-hit for designated hitter Zack Collins in the seventh and drove an RBI single to center field to score Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to extend Toronto’s lead by two.
Bichette hit a bloop single in the eighth inning that brought in Tapia from second base for a 6-1 Blue Jays lead.
Frazier’s second hit of the game came in the ninth inning, driving in Suarez for the final score.
Before tonight’s game, we hold a moment of silence to honor the victims of Saturday’s racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo.
Hate has no place in our communities. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims and our neighbors in Buffalo during this difficult time 💙 pic.twitter.com/mRlo4aQems
Infielder Cavan Biggio was reinstated from Toronto’s COVID-related injured list Monday night. The team immediately sent him to Triple-A Buffalo.
Left-handed reliever Tim Mayza was placed on the Blue Jays’ 15-day injured list with left forearm inflammation on Monday retroactive to Sunday. Left-hander Andrew Vasquez was recalled from Buffalo in a corresponding move.
José Berríos (2-2) will start Tuesday night as Toronto continues its three-game series with Seattle. Logan Gilbery (4-1) will take the mound for the Mariners.