Yusei Kikuchi beats former team, Blue Jays top Mariners to open series
May 16, 2022 Updated Mon., May 16, 2022 at 9:01 p.m.
TORONTO – Yusei Kikuchi allowed one hit over six shutout innings to beat his former team, Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman backed the left-hander with home runs and the Toronto Blue Jays topped the Seattle Mariners 6-2 on Monday night.
Bichette went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and scored twice as the Blue Jays returned home from a 2-7 trip.
Raimel Tapia hit an RBI single in the sixth and pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk added a two-run single in the seventh as the Blue Jays scored more than five runs for the first time since May 7 at Cleveland. Toronto mustered seven runs over three games at Tampa Bay this past weekend.
The Mariners have not won back-to-back games since victories over Kansas City on April 24 and Tampa Bay on April 26. Seattle is 7-13 on the road.
Kikuchi (2-1) walked three and struck out six to win for the second time in three starts. He didn’t pitch past the fifth in any of his first four appearances with Toronto but has worked into the sixth in each of his last three outings.
“He was an All-Star last year,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s got good stuff. He had a good night tonight.”
Seattle didn’t get a hit until Jesse Winker grounded a double down the first-base line to begin the fifth. Luis Torrens drew a one-out walk, but Kikuchi struck out Steven Souza Jr. and got Dylan Moore to fly out.
“He threw strikes when he needed to throw strikes,” Servais said. “He’s got good stuff. There’s never been a question with that. We just couldn’t get much pressure or get much going against him.”
Kikuchi started last season strong being a selection to the 2021 All-Star team. He struggled during the second half of the season and was demoted to the bullpen, before signing with Toronto in March.
In three seasons with the Mariners Kikuchi went 15-24 with a 4.97 ERA in 70 starts.
Eugenio Suárez hit a solo home run for the Mariners, the 200th of his career, off Trevor Richards in the seventh. Richards left after walking Torrens and pinch-hitter Mike Ford and pinch-hitter Adam Frazier loaded the bases with a single off Yimi Garcia. Toronto escaped when Garcia got Abraham Toro to fly out and retired Ty France on a grounder.
Adam Cimber got two outs with two runners on for his fourth major league save and second this season.
Bichette homered in the first, his fourth, and Chapman added a two-out drive in the second, his sixth. Both came off right-hander Chris Flexen (1-6), who lost his fourth straight decision.
Flexen allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out a season-high seven.
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