KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bo Bichette rapped a clean single in the first at-bat of his big league career, and then was greeted by his parents after the Toronto Blue Jays rolled to a 7-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
What did they say?
“I don’t even remember what my mom said,” the mop-haired 21-year-old shortstop said, chuckling with a rookie naiveté. “My dad said, ‘Congratulations Bo. You’re a big leaguer.'”
That would be longtime major leaguer Dante Bichette, by the way.
The Blue Jays’ top prospect didn’t have the biggest impact on the game, though. That was another son of an ex-big leaguer, Cavan Biggio, who hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and added an RBI single in the ninth. The son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio finished with three hits.
“Cavan goes up to the plate, you know he’s going to put together a good at-bat,” said Bichette, who played alongside Biggio and another legacy player, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., throughout the minor leagues.
“It was awesome to come in here and look at the lineup and see those names on it,” added spot starter Thomas Pannone, who gave the Blue Jays six competitive innings before departing.
Tim Mayza (1-1) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief.
The Royals’ Brad Keller (7-10) let just three balls out of the infield until Teoscar Hernandez’s tying home run in the fifth inning. The right-hander went on to allow three homers in a game for the first time in his career, and four runs total in seven-plus innings.
“I felt in control the whole time. Even minus those three pitches, I felt pretty good. Just mistakes got me,” Keller said. “It’s really frustrating, especially when it costs you the game.”
The Royals didn’t get a hit off Pannone until Cam Gallagher’s one-out double off the top of the wall in left in the third. Whit Merrifield followed with a single to give Kansas City the lead.
Keller, who fanned four of his first five batters, was cruising along until Hernandez came up in the fifth. He sent a mistake splashing into the fountains an estimated 450 feet from home plate.
Biggio then led off the sixth with a single, and Randal Grichuk turned on a 2-1 pitch moments later, sending it over the left-field wall for his 17th homer. It was his second against Kansas City this season.
Keller, who came into the game with the third-stingiest home run rate in the majors, breezed through the seventh and manager Ned Yost left him in to start the eighth. That’s when Biggio followed a deep foul ball with an even deeper fair one for a solo shot that gave the Blue Jays the lead again.
“A tie ballgame, but he still felt strong in that situation and I’m not bringing in a reliever if a guy gets on,” Yost said. “I wanted him to keep the ball in the park, which didn’t happen.”
Toronto tacked on three more runs in the ninth to put the game away.
Vladimir Guerrero, Dante Bichette and Craig Biggio combined to make 20 appearances in the All-Star Game, giving their sons big shoes to fill. “It was cool to see them out there,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoya said. “It was fun to watch.”
The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on Lucas Duda after the first baseman was designated for assignment last weekend. Duda was hitting just .171 in his second stint in Kansas City.
Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi said he was feeling much better after fielding grounders before the game. Mondesi has been out since July 17 with a left shoulder subluxation.
Blue Jays second baseman Freddy Galvis was scratched about an hour before first pitch with lower back tightness. Galvis has been the subject of trade rumours after Bichette’s long-awaited arrival shifted him from his preferred shortstop position.
Left-hander Mike Montgomery (1-3, 6.09 ERA) makes his third start for the Royals on Tuesday night following his trade from the Cubs. The Blue Jays have yet to announce their starter.