KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Alek Manoah scattered six hits in six scoreless innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 7-0 Tuesday night.
Alejandro Kirk had four hits and scored a run for Toronto, and Bo Bichette reached base five times – including three walks. The Blue Jays have won back-to-back shutouts for the first time since last July.
”He’s fun to watch. He’s got to be one of the best in baseball,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said of catcher Kirk. ”From my chair, he’s got one of the best approaches. He puts the ball in play. He’s going to give you a good at-bat every time.
”What he did today, even when they shifted against him, he still found a way to get hits.”
Manoah (7-1) worked around a bases-loaded jam in the sixth after putting two of the runners on with two-out walks. He also got all four strikeouts on called third strikes.
”The whole team feels comfortable, like we have a chance when he’s on the mound,” Montoyo said. ”He gets in trouble and then he finds another gear to get out of trouble. You don’t teach that.”
Manoah said the extra pressure drives him.
”When guys get on base, I just get angry,” Manoah said. ”I find a way to control that competitiveness and that fire, and I feel like I’m at my best when I can do that.
”Just being able to go out there and eat a ton of innings is what I kind of what I build everything around.”
Brad Keller (1-7) allowed three runs and seven hits in six-plus innings for Kansas City. He walked two and struck out four and induced three inning-ending double plays. The Royals have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2021.
Matt Chapman’s two-run double put the Blue Jays on the board in the second. Kirk looped a one-out single into center, followed by a hustle double by Santiago Espinal that sent Kirk to third. Chapman then pulled a slider into left, driving in two.
The Royals put pressure on Manoah, but inning-ending double plays in the second and third innings stalled the rallies. Bichette leaped high in the air to snag a line drive, doubling off Carlos Santana at second to end the second inning.
Maintaining calm was key for Manoah.
”A lot of coaches in the past tried to calm me down and that made me not want to calm down,” he said. ”But then I was getting a little too aggressive, so I decided to try to control my mindset and my heart rate.”
In the third, Andrew Benintendi rolled one to first. Vlad Guerrero stepped on the bag and then fired it to Bichette, who threw back to first to get Whit Merrifield.
The Blue Jays got another run in the seventh inning. Keller gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, including Kirk’s third hit. A lineout double play almost got the Royals out of it, but Raimel Tapia hit a double, scoring Espinal.
The Jays then added two more runs in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch, and two more in the ninth on a two-run double by Teoscar Hernandez.
Blue Jays C Danny Jansen was placed on the 10-day Injured List with a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand. Jansen took a pitch off his left hand in the eighth inning of Monday’s game. He finished the game behind the plate. The fracture is on the hand itself, just below the pinky finger on the bone that runs from the finger to the wrist. C Zack Collins was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Jansen.
Benintendi was back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game with a sore right calf. He fouled a ball off his calf in Sunday’s game.
The Blue Jays and Royals will play the final game of a three-game series. The Blue Jays will start LHP Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 3.91 ERA) against RHP Brady Singer (2-1, 4.15 ERA) of the Royals.