TORONTO — Blue Jays rookie pitcher Alek Manoah made a marvellous debut at Rogers Centre, and George Springer smashed a pair of early-game home runs to back his young teammate on Saturday.
Manoah blanked the Kansas City Royals with seven shutout innings in Toronto's 4-0 victory to go two-for-two in their return before a crowd of 13,953 after more than 22 months away from Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays won third three in a row and fourth in their last five games.
Springer knocked the game's first pitch, a 92 m.p.h. four-seam fastball from Royals starter Mike Minor (8-9), and provided a 3-0 advantage with a two-run blast to right-centre field in the third inning.
The hot-hitting Springer now has 11 homers for the season and 40 lead-off round-trippers in his career. He has gone 19-for-49 (.388), with six doubles, six homers and 10 RBI in his last 13 outings.
Manoah (3-1) made his first start since July 9. He suffered a right-back contusion when he slipped on the rain-soaked dugout steps in Buffalo two weeks ago and spent 10 days on the injured list.
He allowed only two singles in his return, struck out four, and walked just one Kansas City batter. After designated hitter Ryan O'Hearn singled with one out in the second inning, Manoah retired 16 in a row before Hunter Dozier's single in the seventh inning.
Manoah tossed 89 pitches, 59 for strikes.
Toronto relievers Ryan Borucki (two-thirds), Adam Cimber (1 ⅓ innings) and closed out the victory. Cimber struck out the side in the ninth.
Minor also went seven innings. He yielded five hits and four earned runs.
The Blue Jays bats were busy again in the sixth inning. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led off with an infield hit to Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier. Initially, umpire Will Little called Guerrero out, but a video review overturned the decision.
Toronto infielder Marcus Semien knocked in his teammate with a triple to right-centre field that eluded a diving Kansas City centre fielder Michael Taylor.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo stated before the game newcomer Jose Berrios could start against Kansas City in the series finale on Sunday if he arrived in Toronto as scheduled on Saturday evening. Berrios was acquired from the Minnesota Twins before the trade deadline on Friday.
To make room for Manoah's return, the Blue Jays optioned right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton to Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2021.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press