TORONTO – George Springer hit his 11th home run of the season and had a sacrifice fly to lead the Toronto Blue Jays past the Oakland Athletics 12-1 on Sunday.
Cavan Biggio added a late three-run homer in the five-run eighth inning as Toronto (43-36) earned two wins in the three-game set with the Athletics. Santiago Espinal had a two-run double, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette each had an RBI single as the Blue Jays racked up 11 hits.
Starter Yusei Kikuchi (7-2) was superb, striking out eight and limiting the Athletics to just two hits and a run over seven innings.
Relievers Trent Thornton and Bowden Francis kept Oakland scoreless the rest of the way.
Tony Kemp’s solo shot in the sixth was all the offense the lowly Athletics (20-60) could muster.
Luis Medina (1-7) allowed four runs — three earned — over five innings on four hits and seven walks, striking out four. Ken Waldichuk and Yacksel Rios coughed up eight runs between them.
Springer led off the game with a 392-foot bomb to center field. It was the 55th leadoff home run of his career, the second most in Major League Baseball history surpassing Alfonso Soriano’s 54. Hall of Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader with 81.
Guerrero tacked on another run in the first when Oakland centre-fielder Esteury Ruiz bobbled his single, allowing Whit Merrifield to round the bases for a 2-0 Toronto lead.
Springer was responsible for another Toronto run in the second when, with the bases loaded, he grounded into a double play. That gave Espinal time to scamper home.
Toronto again loaded the bases in the third, this time scoring a run when Medina’s wild pitch to Kevin Kiermaier got past Athletics catcher Shea Langeliers. All three Blue Jays runners advanced a base with Matt Chapman scoring.
Kemp cut into Toronto’s four-run lead in the sixth, leading off the innings with his third home run of the season. He took a 92.7 mph four-seam fastball — Kikuchi’s first pitch of the inning — 369 feet to right field to make it 4-1.
Springer drove in another run in the bottom of that inning. After Kiermaier reached base on a triple, Springer hit a towering sacrifice fly to deep center field that had the 41,069 fans at Rogers Center willing the ball over the wall. Although it fell into Ruiz’s glove, Kiermaier easily trotted home.
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Espinal extended that lead in the seventh when his base hit eluded Ruiz’s extended glove and bounced over the wall in center field for a ground-rule double. That cashed in Bichette and Guerrero for a 7-1 lead.
In the eighth, Oakland moved its infield in with runners on second and third and Bichette, the American League hits leader, at the plate. But that defensive ploy didn’t work as Bichette poked a single into left field to drive in catcher Tyler Heineman.
The Blue Jays continued to pile on in the inning. Guerrero hit into a fielder’s choice that Springer scored. Biggio then brought home Guerrero and Chapman with his seventh home run of the season, a 370-foot bomb off of Rios for the game’s final score.
ON DECK — Toronto has Monday off before hosting the San Francisco Giants in a three-game interleague series. The rivals Boston Red Sox visit Rogers Center starting Friday.
The Athletics also have Monday off and travel back to Oakland to host the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2023.
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