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Michael Massey lifts Royals over Blue Jays 4-1

TORONTO – Michael Massey’s two-run homer gave Kansas City a lead it never relinquished as the Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 on Tuesday.

Bobby Witt Jr., and Vinnie Pasquantino had back-to-back RBI doubles in the eighth inning to give Kansas City (18-13) some insurance. The Royals snapped a three-game losing skid.

Cole Ragans (2-2) struck out nine, allowing a run on four hits and walks over 6 2/3 innings. Reliever John Schreiber finished the seventh and eighth, and James McArthur pitched the ninth for the save.

Bo Bichette’s RBI single in the sixth inning was all the offence Toronto (15-16) could muster.

Jose Berrios (4-2) gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out three over seven innings.

Erik Swanson, Genesis Cabrera, and Zach Pop of Brampton, Ont., came out of the Blue Jays bullpen, with Swanson giving up two runs.

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Berrios was efficient to start the game, needing just six pitches to get out of the first inning, but got into trouble in the second. He gave up a single to Salvador Perez and then Massey launched a no-doubter to right field for a 2-0 Royals lead.

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Massey’s first home run of the season flew 404 feet on an 84.6 m.p.h. slurve from Berrios. A slurve is a pitch where the pitcher throws a curveball with the speed of a slider, creating a wider break in its motion horizontal motion than a traditional slider.

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Both Berrios and Ragans were remarkably effective after that.

Berrios allowed only one baserunner in the next 14 batters he faced, giving up a single to Freddy Fermin who was then forced out in a double play. Berrios plunked Witt in the sixth, but Kansas City’s star shortstop was then caught stealing by Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk.

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Ragans allowed only one hit through the first five innings when Davis Schneider singled to right field but got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double and then Bichette drew a walk two innings later.

Toronto finally started to string together some hits in the sixth when Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to left field and then Vladimir Guerrero Jr. advanced him to third with a two-out single. Bichette plated Kiner-Falefa in the next at bat with a single to shallow centre field to cut the Royals’ lead to a run.

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Even with those three hits, Ragans had thrown only 80 pitches after six innings and Berrios was even more efficient, throwing 67.

Witt and Pasquantino tacked on two more runs for the visitors in the eighth. Witt doubled to deep left field to score Maikel Garcia and end Swanson’s relief appearance. Pasquantino doubled off the right-field wall in the next at bat to drive in Witt for a 4-1 Kansas City lead.

BLUE JAYS MOVES — Pop was recalled from triple-A Buffalo an hour before the game. He takes Yariel Rodríguez’s spot on Toronto’s roster, after the rookie starter was placed on the 15-day injured list with thoracic spine inflammation.

RIGHT SAID MANFRED — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred visited Rogers Centre ahead of the game, having separate meetings with both teams. It was an opportunity for players to speak directly with the league’s top executive about issues such as recent rule changes.

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ON DECK — Chris Bassitt (2-4) will take the mound for the Blue Jays in the three-game series finale on Wednesday afternoon.

Seth Lugo (4-1) will start for the Royals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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