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Apr 23, 2024 8:19 am

Daulton Varsho, Blue Jays bid to stay hot vs. Royals

Daulton Varsho

Five has been the magic number for the Toronto Blue Jays as they head into the second contest of their four-game series against the host Kansas City Royals on Tuesday evening.

The Blue Jays have won nine of their last 13 games while scoring exactly five runs in eight of the victories. They are 10-1 this season when scoring five or more runs.

Daulton Varsho’s team-leading sixth homer on Monday, a two-run shot, gave Toronto a five-run lead. The Blue Jays held on for a 5-3 win over the Royals.

Varsho, who had no RBIs in his first 13 games, has 13 RBIs over his last nine starts. All but two of his last 11 hits have gone for extra bases.

“He’s moving very efficiently,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “He’s giving himself time to do some really good things with his swing. He’s moving very well. He’s hitting the ball really hard.”

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have relied on solid pitching while winning seven of their last nine games. They have allowed just 14 runs in the seven wins.

“Every day we have an ace on the mound,” said Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Kevin Gausman. “You always feel confident that those guys are going to give it their all.”

Gausman (0-2, 8.16 ERA) will strive for his second straight solid start on Tuesday. The right-hander allowed one run on four hits in five innings of a no-decision against the New York Yankees last Wednesday.

In four previous starts against the Royals, Gausman is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out 10 in a 5-1 victory in his last outing versus Kansas City, on Sept. 9 last year.

Garrett Hampson has three homers in 15 at-bats against Gausman.

Kansas City will send right-hander Michael Wacha (1-2, 3.75 ERA) to the mound in a bid to snap its three-game skid.

In 11 games against Toronto (10 starts), Wacha is 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA. Bo Bichette has five RBIs and a home run among his four hits in 11 at-bats against Wacha.

Wacha has lost consecutive starts while throwing six innings in each against the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox, allowing seven combined runs on 14 hits.

The Royals have been outscored 33-14 by the Blue Jays while losing a club-record seven straight dating to April 3 of last year.

Kansas City’s previously potent offense has hit a dry spell, with three runs or less in six of the last 10 games. The Royals recorded their first shutout loss of the season on Sunday against Baltimore. Their only runs over the past two games have come via two home runs.

“The homers are nice,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We just need to be able to sustain some things and be able to score in other ways as well.”

The Royals had five extra-base hits among their eight hits in Monday’s loss.

“That’s a better sign than the alternative,” Quatraro said. “We just have to get the sequencing right, get them at the right times.”

–Field Level Media

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