Yusei Kikuchi comes up short again as Astros outlast Blue Jays in epic slugfest

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The bats came alive Friday night in a punch-for-punch, back and forth slugfest befitting of two big-boy clubs.

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This was a glorified home run derby, or as close as it gets at baseball’s highest level.

Pitching became an afterthought, but credit the Houston Astros for making key outs in crucial late-game moments when momentum appeared to be shifting to come away with an epic 11-7 win at the Rogers Center in the opener of a three-game weekend series .

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The Jays made it interesting after trailing 10-4, closing the gap to three runs, then putting the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning.

Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi was long gone when the action began to heat up.

His night began on a sour note when Alex Bregman took him deep with two outs in the first inning as the Astros quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

Kikuchi has not gotten through four innings in three of his four starts this season and now owns an ugly 5.52 ERA to go with his 0-1 record.

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time the Astros appeared to have created separation from the Jays, a big hit by the home side would inject life into the crowd and bring even more energy into the game. What ensued was an evening of high-end entertainment with pitchers spared no mercy.

Through seven innings, at least one run was scored in every frame, except the fifth inning.

Through seven innings, the Astros were leading 10-7 as the teams combined for 23 hits, including five bombs.

Five of Toronto’s seven runs came courtesy of a three-run homer by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and a two-run deep ball by Matt Chapman.

David Phelps became the fifth reliever the Jays would use when he pitched in the eighth inning.

Phelps had a runner in scoring position following a wild pitch. It would cost the Jays when Kyle Tucker ripped a ball over the head of right-fielder Raimel Tapia as the Astros increased their lead on the two-base hit.

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Teoscar Hernandez is getting close to returning to the lineup.

The slugger, who normally bats cleanup in the order, has been sidelined for two weeks following an oblique injury.

No word on when he might be able to rejoin his teammates, but Hernandez is progressing.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays selected the contract of infielder Vinny Capra from triple-A Buffalo and re-assigned right-hander Bowden Francis to triple-A.

Capra has hit .304 with 10 RBIs in 18 games for the Bisons.

Francis made his big-league debut in the ninth inning of Toronto’s 7-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night, striking out one and yielding a double over two-thirds of an inning.

Francis and right-hander Trevor Richards were acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last July in exchange for Rowdy Tellez.

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Michael Brantley was scheduled to start in left field for the Astros and bat second.
At least that was the plan.

Then came word the team had scratched the veteran from the lineup due to health and safety protocols.

The change in the order didn’t seem to affect the Astros as they began the night by putting runners on base in each of the first three innings after taking a 1-0 lead on a first-inning home run by Bregman.
In the second inning,

Jose Siri came to the plate with runners at first and second and one out. I have struck out.

Martin Maldonado then struck out to end the inning.

A key turning point in the inning featured a mound visit by pitching coach Pete Walker.

It did wonders for Kikuchi, but the real damage would await.

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Some physical durations would be felt by lefty reliever Tayler Saucedo, who followed Trent Thornton after

Kikuchi was given the hook in the third inning and two outs.

Saucedo left the game with discomfort in his hip following a throw to first base.


Dubbed as Bo Flow Bobblehead Night, the game was marred by a couple of knuckle heads who ventured onto the field only to be wrestled to the turf by a couple of security types who turned the youthful yahoos into blocking dummies.

Some fans in attendance applauded the idiots when escorted out of the stadium.

For the record, the crowd was announced at 35,066, a rolling collection save for the two meat heads.

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