Bichette helps Blue Jays complete White Sox sweep

TORONTO – Beau Bichette had a home run and a two-RBI single as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-0, Wednesday afternoon.

Whit Merrifield extended his on-base streak to 19 games with a hit in the fourth inning and a two-run single in the seventh as Toronto (16-9) won four straight games, including Chicago’s three-game sweep.

Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. drove in two runs, a double in the third, and Santiago Espinal added an RBI single in the fourth.

Yusei Kikuchi (4-0) had 8 strikeouts and held the White Sox to just 4 hits and walks to 5 2/3 innings. Relief Eric Swanson, Imi Garcia and Trevor Richards held on for the win.

Michael Kopech (0-3) allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs and 4 strikeouts in 5 innings while Chicago (7-18) lost 7 straight.

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Jimmy Lambert, Keenan Middleton and Gregory Santos emerged from the White Sox bullpen.

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After striking out the first two batters he faced, Kikuchi got the break when Luis Roberto Jr. attempted to double a single from the right field wall. Right fielder George Springer threw in the second just in time for Bichette to apply the tag and end the inning.

Bichette opened the scoring in the third when he bounced a hard-hitting single to right field and gave Espinal enough time to run home from second and advance George Springer to third.

Guerrero followed up with a double on the first base line to score Springer and Bichette to give Toronto a 3–0 lead.

Springer was removed from the game next inning after suffering a bruised right hand. A preliminary radiograph was negative.

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Espinal tackled a run in the fourth inning, driving in Dalton Bacho with a base hit to left-center field. It was the first game Espinal was back in the lineup after New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole’s fastball struck his wrist at second base on Saturday.

Bichette hit his fifth home run of the season to left fielder foul Nett in the seventh inning. He briefly saw Rodgers loop his shot at a relatively slow exit speed of 95.3 mph before trotting around the bases to the cheers of his 35,069 fans in his center.

Guerrero, Matt Chapman, and Basho all reached base after Bichette’s outburst, and Merrifield came to the plate after Alejandro Kirk struck out. His 21st hit of the season scored Guerrero and Chapman to give Toronto a 7–0 lead.

Merrifield has reached base in every game he’s played this year.

Bichette got his second RBI single in the eighth. His hit ricocheted the first base line into back right field, allowing Espinal to cross home while standing.

GRIFF — Veteran reporter Richard Griffin throws the first pitch in celebration of 50 years in baseball. Griffin, 68, was also a longtime columnist for the Montreal star. He said before the game that he wouldn’t throw from the rubber because he paid too much respect to the mound.

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On Deck — The Blue Jays start a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday off at the Rogers Center.

The White Sox return to Chicago to host the Tampa Bay Rays.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 26, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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