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Apr 10, 2024 3:46 am

Mariners look to avoid sweep at Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays

When Bo Bichette swings for the fences, good things don’t happen.

After getting a pair of hits on Opening Day, the Toronto Blue Jays shortstop went 1-for-21 over the next five games.

He simplified his approach over the weekend and hit his first home run of the season Tuesday, a two-run shot as the Blue Jays defeated the visiting Seattle Mariners 5-3.

Bichette and the Blue Jays will go for a three-game sweep of their first home series at the renovated Rogers Centre on Wednesday afternoon.

Bichette broke out of his slump by going 2-for-4 with a double on Saturday in New York against the Yankees. He doubled again Sunday and Monday before going deep off Seattle starter George Kirby.

“I was probably trying to do too much damage. That’s not me. That happens by accident,” Bichette said of his power. “I’m a hitter first. I just came to that realization. I was pretty bad to start. I’m starting to feel a little bit like myself again.”

Bichette grounded into an inning-ending double play against Kirby in the first inning before hitting a 431-foot drive into the second deck in left field in the third.

“These last few days, he’s hitting the ball really hard. Bo is one of the best hitters in the league,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “I think everyone knows that now. Huge hit (Tuesday), but he’s right there where he needs to be. The at-bats have been really consistent as of late.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three hits, George Springer drove in a pair of runs and Chris Bassitt allowed one run over 6 2/3 innings as the Blue Jays won consecutive games for the first time in 2024.

“This lineup has given me a lot of trouble so I knew that I had to do things, I would say, off script,” Bassitt said. “I kind of mixed up how I pitched a little bit.”

Mitch Haniger and Dominic Canzone homered for Seattle, which has lost three in a row and six of its past seven games.

“It was a frustrating night,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It hasn’t been a good road trip. It hasn’t been a good start to the season.”

Seattle right-hander Logan Gilbert (0-0, 3.55 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale against Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 2.79), a former Mariner.

Gilbert allowed one run on four hits over seven innings in his first start of the season but didn’t get a decision in a 4-3 victory against Boston. Last Friday in Milwaukee, he gave up four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings in a game the Mariners lost 6-5 on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Gilbert is 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA in four career starts against Toronto.

Kikuchi lost his first start of the season, March 30 at Tampa Bay, giving up three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings last Friday but didn’t get a decision in a 3-0 victory against the Yankees.

Kikuchi, who spent his first three seasons with the Mariners before signing as a free agent with Toronto in 2022, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two previous starts against Seattle.

–Field Level Media

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