Current track



Blue Jays fall short of comeback as Orioles ride Mountcastle-led offence to victory

Written by on June 15, 2022

Control issues and the long ball proved to be the undoing for Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi on Tuesday night. The Baltimore Orioles took advantage of his uneven performance for a 6-5 victory at Rogers Centre.

Kikuchi (2-3) issued four walks and gave up two homers over four-plus innings.

“He just needs to throw strikes,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “It’s kind of tough to play behind somebody when he’s (throwing) too many non-competitive pitches.

“Of course believe me, after having said that, there’s always hope because he’s got good stuff.”

The Blue Jays have won only one of Kikuchi’s last five starts. The left-hander didn’t get out of the first inning in a loss to Kansas City last week.

“When he does throw strikes, he gets people out,” Montoyo said. “But when you pitch behind and you walk people, people are going to score.”

Ryan Mountcastle hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Austin Hays added a solo shot in the fifth that ended the night for Kikuchi.

“Both of them were off of pitches that I didn’t execute, they just got too much plate,” Kikuchi said via a translator. “Being a little bit more fine and executing my pitches would be key [to improving].”

Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman homered and scored twice while rookie catcher Gabriel Moreno had three hits and drove in two runs.

It was Baltimore’s first win over Toronto (36-25) in eight meetings and the Blue Jays’ fifth loss in 19 games overall.

Kikuchi gave up four earned runs and five hits.

“I thought we did a really good job making him work,” said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. “We were ready to hit on strikes.”

Moreno drove in Santiago Espinal with a one-out single in the eighth inning to make it a one-run game. Baltimore’s Jorge Lopez got the last five outs for his ninth save.

Mountcastle opened the scoring by turning on a 1-0 pitch for his 10th home run of the year. The Baltimore first baseman had three hits on the evening.

Chapman, who missed Toronto’s last three games with a sore wrist, singled off Baltimore starter Jordan Lyles (4-5) in the third inning and scored when Bo Bichette hit a slow chopper with the bases loaded.

Baltimore (27-36) tacked on another run in the fourth but Chapman tied the game in the bottom half with a two-run shot for his eighth homer of the season.

After Hays opened the fifth with his eighth home run, reliever Trevor Richards gave up another run on a Tyler Nevin sacrifice fly that plated Mountcastle, who reached on a ground-rule double.

Jorge Mateo made it 6-3 on a Cedric Mullins RBI single in the sixth inning. Trent Thornton came on in relief and got Hays to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., led off with a double in the Toronto half of the frame and scored on a single by Moreno, who made his first home start behind the plate since his big-league debut last Saturday.

Lyles worked 5 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs, five hits and three walks while striking out seven. Kikuchi had four strikeouts.

Toronto outhit Baltimore 10-8. Announced attendance was 23,106 and the game took three hours 12 minutes to play.

Ryu to have surgery, expected to miss rest of season

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to miss the rest of the season due to a left elbow injury that will require surgery.

General manager Ross Atkins said Dr. Neal ElAttrache will determine during the procedure whether Ryu needs Tommy John surgery or a partial repair of the ulnar collateral ligament.

“We were hopeful that there was the potential of a conservative route and weighed the pros and cons of that and ultimately decided that it was best to move forward with the procedure,” Atkins said Tuesday during a media availability at Rogers Centre.

Ryu has been on the injured list since June 2 due to left forearm inflammation. He missed about a month with a similar issue earlier this season.

His velocity dipped in his last start, a 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 1. Ryu left the game after four innings.

Atkins said the injury was not acute in nature, but rather a chronic “stretching” and “pulling” of the ligament. Over time, he added, the issue can make tightness occur in the forearm along with the loss of dexterity.

“He’s a very tough individual and has perspective but he’s extremely disappointed that he won’t be part of this [lineup] for the near term,” Atkins said.

Depending on the type of procedure, Ryu may not be able to return in 2023, when he’ll be in the final season of his $80-million US, four-year contract with the Blue Jays.

Rehabilitation and buildup after a Tommy John procedure — a UCL reconstruction — usually takes between 12 and 24 months. Atkins said it would be a “great outcome” to have Ryu pitching at some point next year.

Ryu, 35, served as a rotation anchor for the Blue Jays in the truncated 2020 campaign and was a reliable starter again last year. He was 2-0 over six starts this season with a 5.67 earned-run average.

Ryu led the major leagues in 2019 with a 2.32 ERA and finished second in Cy Young voting that year. He has battled injury woes through his career since making his big-league debut with the Dodgers in 2013.

Ross Stripling will continue to pitch in Ryu’s spot in the rotation, Atkins said, adding the team will continue to look to make potential roster improvements ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

The Blue Jays also placed right-hander Julian Merryweather on the 15-day IL with a left abdominal strain. Right-hander Jeremy Beasley was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo before Tuesday night’s home game against the Baltimore Orioles.