Yusei Kikuchi put together his best start as a Blue Jay in Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Rays

Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
The Tampa Bay Rays rolled into Toronto on Friday just one win shy of setting a Major League record for the most consecutive wins to start a season. They’re now on a two-game losing streak thanks to Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi.

Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Yusei Kikuchi

Kikuchi has become a Rays Killer. Last season, the lefty struggled to a 5.19 ERA over 32 appearances, but he was dominant against the Rays, holding them to three runs over 11.0 innings on seven hits and three walks while striking out 15.
On Saturday, Kikuchi took the mound and made his best start since joining the Blue Jays. He tossed six innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out nine. The nine strikeouts set a new career high for Kikuchi as a Blue Jay and it’s the first time he went six innings in a start since July 30 against these same Rays.

Things worth mentioning…

  • It was a small ball day in Toronto as the Blue Jays scored five runs against the Rays with only one extra-base hit. Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer pulled off a double steal in the third inning and Bo Bichette drove in a run on a ground out, Alejandro Kirk was hit by a pitch and White Merrifield drove him in with a double, and Danny Jansen then scored Merrifield with a single.
  • One of the strangest managerial decisions of the afternoon came in the sixth inning when Kevin Cash opted to walk Jansen to load the bases with one out for Kevin Kiermaier. Josh Fleming got the former Ray to strike out but then he had to pitch to George Springer, who drew an RBI walk to extend Toronto’s lead.
  • Things got a little sketchy in the ninth inning as the Rays managed to load the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Wander Franco smacked a comebacker at Jordan Romano that drilled him in the chest but he was still able to grab the ball and make the play at first base to record the save.
  • The Blue Jays will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon with an ace-on-ace matchup. Alek Manoah will start for Toronto while Shane McClanahan will go for Tampa.


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