Kirk, Manoah keep things rolling as Blue Jays notch another shutout vs. Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alek Manoah scatter six hits in six scoreless innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 7-0 on Tuesday night.

Alejandro Kirk had four hits and scored a run for Toronto, and Bo Bichette reached base five times, including three walks. The Blue Jays have won back-to-back shutouts for the first time since last July.

“He’s fun to watch. He has to be one of the best in baseball,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said of catcher Kirk. ‘From my chair he has one of the best approaches. He puts the ball back into play. He’s going to give you a good shot every time.

“What he did today, even when they backfired, he still found a way to get hits.”

Manoah (7-1) worked around a goal-laden block in the sixth after setting two of the runners with two walks. He also got all four strikeouts on third strikes called.

“The whole team feels comfortable, like we have a chance when he’s on the mound,” Montoyo said. “He gets in trouble, then he finds another gear to get out of it. You don’t teach that.’

Manoah said the added pressure drove him on.

“When the guys get to base, I get angry,” Manoah said. ‘I find a way to control that competitiveness and that fire, and I feel like I’m at my best when I can do it.

“Just being able to go out there and eat a ton of sleeves is what I build around everything.”

Brad Keller (1-7) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings for Kansas City. He walked two and struck out four and caused three end-of-inning double plays. The Royals have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since May 2021.

Matt Chapman’s two-run double put the Blue Jays on the board in second. Kirk curled a one-out single to the middle, followed by a brace from Santiago Espinal that sent Kirk to third. Chapman then fired a slider to the left, driving in two.

The Royals put pressure on Manoah, but late-inning double plays in the second and third innings stalled the rallies. Bichette jumped high in the air to hook a line drive, passing Carlos Santana in second to complete the second run.

Maintaining calm was key for Manoah.

“A lot of coaches in the past tried to calm me down and that made me not want to calm down,” he said. “But I was getting a bit too aggressive, so I decided to try to control my mindset and my heart rate.”

In the third, Andrew Benintendi rolled one to first. Vlad Guerrero stepped on the bag and then fired it at Bichette, who threw first to recover Whit Merrifield.

The Blue Jays got another run in the seventh inning. Keller gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, including Kirk’s third hit. A double lineout play nearly took the Royals out, but Raimel Tapia netted a brace, scoring Espinal.

The Jays then added two more runs in the seventh on a goal-laden walk and wild pitch, and two more in the ninth on a two-run double from Teoscar Hernandez.

TRANSACTIONS

Blue Jays C Danny Jansen was placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured fifth pastern in his left hand. Jansen pulled out a pitch with his left hand in the eighth inning of Monday’s game. He finished the game behind home plate. The fracture is on the hand itself, just below the little finger on the bone that runs from the finger to the wrist. C Zack Collins was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Jansen.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Benintendi was back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game with right calf pain. He fouled a ball from his calf during Sunday’s game.

NEXT

The Blue Jays and Royals will play the final game of a three-game series. The Blue Jays will start LHP Yusei Kikuchi (2-2, 3.91 ERA) against RHP Brady Singer (2-1, 4.15 ERA) of the Royals.

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