Jose Berrios delivers the goods as Blue Jays shut out Mariners

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The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the second inning on an Alejandro Kirk double, a Matt Chapman hit-by-pitch and a single by Santiago Espinal.

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The Espinal single was bookended by strikeouts, which brought the top of the Jays order and George Springer to the plate with two out.

Springer blooped a ball over second base and too much in front of a diving right fielder Steven Sousa Jr., whose gamble proved costly.

The ball bounced past the diving Sousa and into shallow right where, by the time it was corralled the bases had been emptied and Springer was sliding into third with a three-run triple.

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That was the extent of the scoring on the night as Toronto recorded a 3-0 shutout victory. The Jays bats, which broke out to an extent one night earlier, were held to just six hits on this night by Mariners ace Logan Gilbert in his seven innings of work. Logan, who has a devastating four-seam fastball, struck out nine Jays but could not avoid that one damaging inning in the early going.

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The Mariners, who came into the series red-hot with the bats, having taken two of three from a surging New York Mets team, went a little cold in the series opener and then inexplicably took batting practice off before Tuesday’s game.

Chances are they won’t repeat that on Wednesday.

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With the win, Berrios improved to 3-2 on the year and dropped his ERA from 5.82 to 4.83.

Adam Cimber came on in the ninth and recorded his third save of the year with closer Jordan Romano still not feeling 100%.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez steals second base as Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette waits for the throw during the second inning in Toronto on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez steals second base as Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette waits for the throw during the second inning in Toronto on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS


Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker left the ballpark Monday night feeling particularly good about what he had just witnessed.

Walker and Monday’s starter, Yusei Kikuchi, have been putting in some time together fine-tuning his arsenal and building up the latter’s confidence in his fastball.

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Initially expected to be a lengthy process, Kikuchi has bought into the plan wholeheartedly and perhaps because of that is seeing the fruits of their work together pay off even earlier than either had expected.

“Yeah, I hate to say it,” Walker said when asked if he thought Kikuchi was ahead of the curve with his progress. “I am pleasantly surprised at the transition. He seems to be very excited about it, which is even better. He seems to be bouncing around. I thought he was very aggressive Monday night with his fastball, which is our first priority. Use that fastball but also getting it in the strike zone.”

The new slider that works in tandem with that fastball which Kikuchi refers to as a “big cutter” is also coming along nicely.

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Already down Tim Mayza, who has been handling much of the eighth-inning duties for the Jays bullpen, the team is now temporarily down its closer as well.

Jordan Romano came down with a non-COVID related illness during Monday’s game. He insisted on warming up in the bullpen to see if he could go but that quickly became a moot point when the Jays extended the lead to five going into the ninth.

Romano, though, was officially listed as day-to-day heading into Wednesday’s game as that illness was clearly lingering … Nate Pearson hit 96 mph on the radar gun in his bullpen session this week, but that’s just the first step in his return. The Jays hope to have him in Dunedin facing some live hitting soon but any thought that Pearson could help out right now with both Mayza down and Romano ill is premature.

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