MLB: Blue Jays’ Yusei Kikuchi ends 7-start winless streak at home

TORONTO (Kyodo) — Yusei Kikuchi got off to a quality start Thursday, earning his first victory in more than six weeks for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Having lost three of his seven starts since his previous win on May 16, Kikuchi (3-4) relied heavily on his effective changes, striking out a season-high eight batters while allowing one run on four hits. and a step.

The 31-year-old Japanese southpaw didn’t allow a hit until Yandy Diaz hit a two-out single in the third inning at Rogers Centre.

Kikuchi got offensive support from Teoscar Hernandez and Santiago Espinal, who each hit a two-run homer off Ryan Yarbrough (0-4), in Game 1 of a five-game series that includes a doubleheader on Saturday.

“I feel relieved after finishing six rounds and tasting victory with my team,” Kikuchi said. “I struggled to throw shots in my last three or four starts, but I was able to study videos and make adjustments, so that was good.”

Tampa Bay fly-half Matt Wisler lasted an inning before giving way to Yarbrough, who was freshly recalled from Triple-A Durham.

Adam Cimber earned the stoppage as Toronto won for the third time in four games, improving to 43-33 and moving into a tie for second with the Boston Red Sox in the American League East standings .

Due to the lockdown pushing back the start of the season and Major League Baseball’s desire to go no further into October and November, teams will play a number of scheduled doubleheaders in order to squeeze all 162 games into the schedule.

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