KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kevin Gausman pitched six scoreless innings, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio hit home runs and the Toronto Blue Jays won their third straight game, 6-3, over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday to take the four-game series.
Gausman (1-1) gave up just four hits to the struggling Royals, striking out seven and walking two. Kansas City did not have a runner reach second base until the sixth inning.
“I felt pretty good with the split today,” Gausman said. “I felt like I had good command that got better as the game went on. It’s a good pitch for me.”
It wasn’t an easy game for Gausman with the temperature in the low 50s Fahrenheit (around 11 degrees Celsius). But he fought through it.
“His stuff speaks for itself,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “His split was great and he located his heater really well off that. That’s what good pitchers do. They make adjustments when they need to.”
The Royals scored three runs in the eighth to avoid their fourth shutout of the season.
“We just continued to have good at-bats,” said interim Kansas City manager Paul Hoover, who is filling in for Matt Quatraro, out with COVID-19. “It was good to see the guys string a couple together and get the heartbeat up a little bit. We had the tying run at the plate with no outs.”
Adam Cimber earned his first save.
Jordan Lyles (0-2) took the loss. He struck out nine but gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Five of the hits were for extra bases, including a pair of homers.
The Blue Jays wasted no time in jumping out to an early lead. Guerrero blooped a one-out single in the first, followed by a double by Daulton Varsho. Matt Chapman, the American League’s leading hitter at .522 entering the game, then lined a double off the top of the wall in left to score both runners.
The Jays added to their lead in the second on a two-out single by Bo Bichette scoring Kevin Kiermaier.
Biggio hit his first home run of the season into the Royals’ bullpen in right for a 4-0 lead in the fourth.
“(Lyles) struck the first two batters out and got ahead 0-2,” Biggio said. “I was trying to battle and trying to protect. I didn’t want to let him get me on a two-seamer. He left one over the plate and I put a good swing on it.”
Guerrero extended the lead to 5-0 in the fifth with a 436-foot home run to left center to go deep for the second time in as many days.
“He’s really staying within himself,” Schneider said. “Even when he’s making an out, he’s knowing what he’s doing and just missing. His approach is awesome.”
Toronto used three straight singles in the seventh to plate its sixth run. Varsho’s RBI single drove in Bichette.
The Royals finally got on the board in the eighth, when Bobby Witt Jr. hit the left-field foul pole for his first home run of the season. Vinnie Pasquantino had an RBI single and Edward Olivares added an RBI double. But with runners on second and third with no outs, the Royals could not score again.
Blue Jays: Toronto continues its season-opening road trip with a three-game series in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. RHP Chris Bassitt (0-1, 24.30 ERA) will get the start for the Blue Jays. The Angels will counter with LHP Patrick Sandoval (1-0, 1.80 ERA).
Royals: Kansas City also heads west for its first road series of the season in San Francisco against the Giants. RHP Brad Keller (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will face RHP Alex Cobb (0-0, 2.45 ERA).
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David Smale, The Associated Press