TORONTO – Bobby Witt Jr., and Nate Eaton homered as a patchwork Kansas City lineup defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
With 10 roster players not allowed to travel to Canada because of their COVID-19 vaccination status, the Royals called up eight players from their minor-league affiliates before the game.
Double-A call-up Angel Zerpa (2-0) took advantage of his opportunity by allowing just one earned run, four hits and two walks over five innings.
Relievers Jackson Kowar and Taylor Clarke kept Toronto off the scoreboard before Scott Barlow closed it out for his 16th save.
Toronto’s Kevin Gausman had a quality start in his first appearance since taking a liner off his ankle in a game on July 2. Matt Chapman hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays (47-43).
It was the first loss for John Schneider since taking over as Blue Jays interim manager when Charlie Montoyo was let go on Wednesday.
Gausman gave up back-to-back singles in the second inning before spoiling the first big-league at-bats for Nick Pratto and Eaton with strikeouts. The veteran right-hander got Nicky Lopez on a groundout for the third out.
Kansas City (36-53) opened the scoring in the fifth inning after Lopez led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. He scored when Edward Olivares lined a ball to right field before being thrown out at second base.
Witt followed with his 13th homer of the season. Chapman answered with a solo shot of his own, giving him 14 homers on the year.
With runners on the corners in the eighth inning, left-fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., preserved the one-run lead with a diving catch on a sinking liner from Ryan O’Hearn.
Toronto’s Bo Bichette reached on a two-out walk in the bottom half and was called out on a stolen base attempt. The call was overturned on review but Teoscar Hernandez grounded out to end the frame.
Anthony Banda gave up a solo shot to Eaton – his first career big-league homer – in the ninth inning.
Gausman (6-7) allowed seven hits, two earned runs and two walks over six innings. He had six strikeouts.
Kansas City outhit Toronto 12-7. Announced attendance was 24,426 and the game took three hours to play.
Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday. He’s working his way back from a neck strain that landed him on the injured list last week.
Schneider said it had yet to be determined whether Kikuchi would pitch as a starter or a reliever when he returns.
Right-handers will square off Friday night as Toronto’s Alek Manoah (9-4, 2.34 earned-run average) starts against Zack Greinke (3-5, 4.52).
The Blue Jays have yet to confirm Saturday’s starter. Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-4, 5.38) will get the nod on Sunday in the finale of the four-game series.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.
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