Bichette stars as Blue Jays win 5-2; Braves drop 1st road series
TORONTO (AP) — Bo Bichette singled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning and finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 Saturday.
The Blue Jays won their second straight over the Braves, handing Atlanta its first series loss on the road this season. The Braves had won six straight series away from home to start the year before coming north to Canada.
Erik Swanson (2-1) got five outs for the win and Jordan Romano earned his 10th save in 12 chances.
Toronto has won eight straight over Atlanta, sweeping all six games in 2021 before winning the past two. It’s Atlanta’s longest losing streak against a single opponent since 2015, when the Braves lost nine in a row against Washington.
After hitting consecutive singles off A.J. Minter (2-5) in the seventh, Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer pulled off a double steal to put runners at second and third. Bichette drove in Kiermaier with a base hit through a drawn-in infield before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly.
Danny Jansen pushed Toronto’s lead to three with an RBI double off Joe Jiménez in the eighth.
Kiermaier had three hits and scored twice, and Whit Merrifield had three stolen bases and an RBI for Toronto.
Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer in the second, his seventh, connecting on a 3-2 pitch from José Berríos.
Guerrero hit a leadoff double in the fourth, punctuating his hit with a headfirst slide into second base. He advanced to third on Matt Chapman’s infield single and scored on Whit Merrifield’s grounder.
Atlanta put runners at the corners with two outs in the top of the fifth but Springer laid out for a diving catch on Eddie Rosario’s liner to end the threat.
Toronto tied it in the fifth when Kiermaier beat out a leadoff double to shallow right, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Bichette’s two-out single.
The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out against Yimi Garcia in the seventh but couldn’t break the deadlock. Garcia left after getting Sean Murphy to ground into a fielder’s choice. Swanson came on and struck out Rosario, then got Ozzie Albies to fly out.
Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (5-0, 3.35) puts his unbeaten record on the line in Sunday’s series finale. The Braves have not named a starter.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Ian Harrison, The Associated Press