Bichette hits 5th homer in 4 games as Blue Jays beat Rangers


Bo Bichette homered for the fifth time in the last four games, Danny Jansen hit a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning and the playoff-seeking Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas 4-3 on Friday. night, when Rangers’ top prospect Josh Jung hit a home run in his first batting career.

Bichette’s 23rd homer was a third-inning two-run shot that gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead. He also drove in a run with defender-choice ground in the first.

After Rangers tied it at 3 on Corey Seager’s RBI double in the eighth, reliever Jose Leclerc (0-2) walked a first base in the ninth. Raimel Tapia then stole second base, went to third on a long flyout, and scored on Jansen’s hit.

Tim Mayza (6-0), Toronto’s fourth pitcher, had two outs in the eighth before Jordan Romano worked the ninth for his 32nd save of 36 opportunities. With a runner at No. 2, right-hander Romano retired Jung and got pinched hitter Adolis Garcia on a game-ending flyout.

The Blue Jays, who held a 4 1/2 game lead over Baltimore for the third and final wildcard spot in the American League, won for the 16th time in their last 22 games. They’ve won 13 of their last 15 road games, including three of four against the Orioles in their series before heading to Texas.

The only runner allowed by right-hander Ross Stripling the first two times in the Texas lineup was Jung’s homer leading in the third inning.

Second baseman Marcus Semien, in the first year of a seven-year, US$175 million contract, scored a double with two outs in the sixth against Stripling to extend the longest active on-base streak in the majors at 20 games. Seager followed with an RBI single to snap an 0-for-25 slump for the All-Star shortstop in the first season of his 10-year, $325 million deal.

Jung, Texas Tech’s eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft, is expected to finish this season as the Rangers’ primary third baseman. He might have earned that opportunity in spring training, but needed surgery in February to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder (which doesn’t throw). He was recalled after six home runs in 23 games at Triple-A Round Rock last month.

The Blue Jays opened the game with back-to-back singles from the field, as well as a pitching error from starter Dane Dunning. Bichette then hit a grounder lined up by fleeing Jung before his quick backhand for a forced out at second.

Bichette, who added a triple in the eighth before Brock Burke retired back-to-back batters, hit three home runs in Game 2 of a doubleheader Monday at Baltimore and then went deep Tuesday.

Jays place Gurriel Jr. on 10-day IL

Earlier Friday, the Blue Jays placed outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring injury.

The move is retroactive to Thursday. Gurriel left Wednesday’s 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning with the injury.

Gurriel, 28, has the second-best batting average on the team at .291 and has five homers to go with 52 RBIs in 121 games this season.

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