• Baseball

Yusei Kikuchi: Blue Jays Finish Sweep of White Sox 8-0

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (16) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Rogers Centre.

TORONTO (AP) — Yusei Kikuchi struck out eight batters over 5 2/3 innings, Bo Bichette hit a solo home run and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the slumping White Sox 8-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep, extending Chicago’s losing streak to seven.

Blue Jays outfielder George Springer left in the fourth, one inning after he was hit on the right hand by a pitch from White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech (0-3). X-rays did not reveal a fracture.

Cavan Biggio pinch hit for Springer but struck out to strand two runners.

Manager John Schneider said the Blue Jays will take advantage of Thursday’s off day to give Springer some rest. Springer will be reevaluated before Friday’s home game against Seattle.

“Off day comes at a good time for him,” Schneider said.

Chicago has lost nine of 10 and 15 of 19. Things aren’t getting any easier for the White Sox, who host MLB-leading Tampa Bay in a four-game series beginning Thursday.

“We’re in a funk, and we have to come together as a team and figure out how to get out of it because this isn’t fun,” White Sox catcher Seby Zavala said.

Chicago was blanked for the second-straight game and third time this season. The White Sox have three runs and 14 hits in their last four games.

“We’ve got to be able to put runs on the board if we want to compete at this level,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “We’re not doing that right now.”

Kikuchi (4-0) allowed four hits, all singles, and walked one in his third straight winning start. The left-hander has pitched at least six innings in all three of those victories. He has allowed more than one earned run only once in five starts in 2023.

Blue Jays starters have allowed five runs over 52 1/3 innings in their past eight games.

“Collectively, they’re throwing strikes and they’re executing their pitches,” Schneider said.

Erik Swanson struck out all four batters he faced, Yimi Garcia worked the eighth and Trevor Richards finished the four-hitter.

Ten of the final 11 White Sox batters struck out, including Eloy Jiménez, who fanned four times.

“We’ve got to clean that up,” Grifol said. “We’ve got to be tougher outs.”

Bichette went 3 for 4 with three RBI and scored twice. He hit a first-pitch homer off Jimmy Lambert in the seventh, his fifth.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two doubles and two RBI as Toronto swept Chicago north of the border for the second straight season. The Blue Jays have won six of eight and 15 of 21.

White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr., who came in 1 for 21 on the road trip, hit a two-out single in the first but was thrown out at second after sliding past the bag.

“He told me that he slid late, which carried him through the bag,” Grifol said.

Kopech allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.

“I didn’t feel like I threw the ball terrible but the bottom line is I’ve got to throw better,” Kopech said. “We’re in a tough spot right now and we needed a better start than that.”