Yusei Kikuchi Pitched Six Innings to Win Back-To-Back Starts; Blue Jays Beat AL-leading Orioles 4-1

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (16) pitches to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Rogers Centre.

TORONTO (AP) — Brandon Belt reached base three times and scored twice and the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a five-game home losing streak against Baltimore, beating the American League-leading Orioles 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Paul DeJong made his Toronto debut at shortstop as the Blue Jays placed All-Star and AL batting leader Bo Bichette on the 10-day injured list because of right patellar tendonitis.

Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi pitched six innings to win back-to-back starts. Kikuchi (9-3) allowed one run and six hits. He hadn’t won consecutive outings since a three-start winning streak in April.

Yimi García pitched the seventh inning and Jordan Hicks worked the eighth for Toronto. Erik Swanson finished for his third save in four chances, picking off rookie Jordan Westburg at first base for the final out.

Toronto’s George Springer spiked his bat after grounding out to the mound in the second, extending his hitless to 35 at-bats.

Springer snapped his slump and drove in the opening run of the game with a bloop single to center in the fourth. The four-time All-Star raised his arms in celebration as he reached first base.

Baltimore tied it on Adley Rutschman’s RBI single in the fifth. Rutschman beat out an infield hit when Kikuchi didn’t cover first base.

The Blue Jays broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run sixth that featured more bruises than base hits.

Grayson Rodriguez (2-3) left after consecutive one-out walks to Belt and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Shintaro Fujinami walked Springer on four pitches to load the bases, then forced home a run when his first pitch to Matt Chapman drilled him.

Fujinami got ahead 0-2 on Danny Jansen before hitting the Blue Jays catcher on the arm to force in another run, and Springer scored when shortstop Jorge Mateo made an error on Daulton Varshi’s grounder.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Shintaro Fujinami (14) reacts after hitting Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman (not pictured) with a ptich and walking in a run during the sixth inning at Rogers Centre.

Rodriguez allowed three runs and two hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.