NEW YORK (AP) — George Springer celebrated his 34th birthday with his 57th career leadoff homer, Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk hit two-run homers and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Toronto began the night one game ahead of Seattle and Texas for the second American League wild-card berth. The Yankees entered six games back for the final A-L wild card, needing to overcome Seattle and Texas.
Yusei Kikuchi (10-6) was pulled one batter into the sixth because of a left upper trap muscle cramp after being checked out by athletic trainer Jose Ministral. Kikucki allowed one run and four hits in five-plus innings for his first win since Aug. 2.
Springer reached 20 homers for the eighth time when he connected off Clarke Schmidt (9-9) and walked ahead of Bichette’s first homer since Aug. 20.
Kirk padded the lead with his two-run shot in the ninth and Kevin Kiermaier scored on an error by rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe.
Bichette reached three times and took third when third baseman Oswald Peraza committed a throwing error on a grounder by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. After Peraza’s fourth error, Bichette gave Toronto a 2-1 lead when Cavan Biggio’s single dropped in front of centre-fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Kikuchi was lifted after walking DJ LeMahieu to start the sixth. Yimi Garcia got Giancarlo Stanton to bounce into a double to end the sixth.
Trevor Richards and Jordan Hicks pitched a perfect inning apiece before Kirk connected for the first time since July 29.
Gleyber Torres hit an RBI double in the first as the Yankees dropped back to one game over .500. New York was held to one run or fewer for the 27th time.
Schmidt allowed four runs and four hits in five innings.
Blue Jays: 1B Brandon Belt (back spasms) took swings in the batting cage. … RHP Adam Cimber (right shoulder impingement) pitched a scoreless inning in his second rehab appearance for triple-A Buffalo.
Yankees: OF Everson Pereira (hamstring) has a low grade strain and the team will determine in the next few days if he needs an injured list stint.
Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (11-9, 3.40 ERA) opposes New York RHP Michael King (4-6, 2.77) on Wednesday.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
Larry Fleisher, The Associated Press