The Toronto Blue Jays will be out to complete a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the first series at the Jays’ real home in nearly two years.
The Blue Jays clinched a series win Saturday with a 4-0 victory behind seven strong innings from right-hander Alek Manoah and two home runs by George Springer.
Springer has 11 home runs in a season that was delayed and then interrupted by oblique and quadriceps injuries. He was Toronto’s major offseason signing.
“This is where I wanted to play,” Springer said. “For us to have a chance to come back here to play in front of the fans, the atmosphere here has been unbelievable. It’s exciting.”
The Jays’ 6-4 victory on Friday came in their first game at the Rogers Centre since Sept. 29, 2019. They had played their home games in Buffalo and Dunedin, Fla., because of travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blue Jays won their third straight game in ending the Royals’ streak of three consecutive winning series. The Blue Jays were 12-11 in July and the Royals were 12-12.
Left-hander Mike Minor allowed four runs in seven innings Saturday to end a string of six consecutive quality starts by Kansas City. The Royals have had quality starts in nine of their past 11 games.
“These guys are believing in their stuff, believing in their defense and aggressively attacking the strike zone,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “And if they get a little hiccup, they stick right back with that game plan. It’s been exactly what we’ve asked our starting staff to do, and if they do that, we’ve got a chance.”
The game Sunday could be the Blue Jays’ debut of right-hander Jose Berrios, who was obtained in a trade with the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said it would depend on if Berrios (7-5, 3.48 ERA) arrived Saturday night in time to be ready to start on Sunday.
“He’s not here yet, but I’m going to be here waiting,” Montoyo said after Saturday’s game.
The Royals will start right-hander Brad Keller (7-9, 5.55), who allowed one run in seven innings Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox but did not factor into the decision. He finished July with a 2.28 ERA in four starts. He will face Toronto for the first time since July 29, 2019, when he took the loss after allowing four runs in seven innings. He is 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA in five career outings (three starts) against Toronto.
Berrios is 2-0, 6.00, this season in two starts against the Royals. In 17 career starts against them, he is 5-4 with a 4.82 ERA.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield singled in the eighth inning Saturday, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. In that span he is batting .283 (13-for-46) with three doubles, two RBIs and three stolen bases.
With Manoah (back contusion) being activated from the injured list to make the start on Saturday, the Blue Jays optioned right-hander Trent Thornton to Triple-A Buffalo.
The Royals recalled outfielder Edward Olivares from Triple-A Omaha and optioned infielder Lucius Fox to Triple-A on Saturday. Olivares walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and finished the game in right field.
–Field Level Media
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