May 26, 2024

Witt’s 2-run double after a costly Blue Jays error sends Kansas City to a 3-2 win over Toronto

Kansas City Royals' Vinnie Pasquantino (9) is congratulated after he scored in the third inning of the team's baseball against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bobby Witt Jr. delivered the go-ahead double in the fifth inning for Kansas City after a costly error by Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and the Royals’ bullpen shut down Toronto the rest of the way in a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.
Chris Stratton (2-1) minimized the damage when he inherited a bases-loaded jam from Michael Wacha in the fifth. He also took care of the sixth before John Schreiber handled the seventh and James McArthur breezed through the eighth.
Royals manager Matt Quatraro opted to send McArthur out for the ninth, and the Blue Jays’ Cavan Biggio appeared to begin the inning by beating out a single, only for the call to be overturned upon review. George Springer followed with a single and went to second on Guerrero’s groundout, but McArthur got Bo Bichette to ground out to finish off his fifth save of the season.
“You don’t get too many opportunities with the extra outs there, but we were able to make them pay,” Wacha said. “Bobby came through for us, like he so often does, and the bullpen shut the door for us.”
Kevin Gausman (0-3) allowed three runs — none of them earned — on seven hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings for Toronto.
“I mean, Guasman led the league in strikeouts last year and he had one or two in six-plus,” Quatraro said, “so just getting the ball in play. Not every contact is going to be solid. But you know, make something happen”
Wacha allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks for Kansas City, but he needed 96 pitches to get through 4 1/3 innings. But while he was plenty erratic — Wacha plunked Davis Schneider to load the bases in the fifth — he also was victimized by some bad luck, including a series of weakly hit singles that the Blue Jays turned into a 1-0 lead in the third.
After Wacha left with the bases loaded in the fifth, Alejandro Kirk’s sacrifice fly gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
The Royals’ comeback in the bottom of the fifth began with a blunder: Adam Frazier was caught in a rundown between third base and home for the second out of the inning. But he stayed alive long enough for Michael Massey to reach second base, and moments later, Guerrero allowed the throw for what should have been the final out of the inning to go right past him.
“What can I say? I just missed the ball, period,” Guerrero said through an interpreter.
Massey came around to score, Maikel Garcia followed with a base hit and Witt’s double to left gave Kansas City a 3-2 lead.
“Just tried to control the moment. Control what I could control,” Witt said.
The Royals nearly added to that advantage in the seventh, when Garcia drew a two-out walk and Witt singled for his third hit of the night. Vinnie Pasquantino then hammered a pitch from Nate Pearson, but it skirted outside the foul pole in right field, and the Toronto reliever proceeded to strike him out to end the threat.
Turned out that the Royals didn’t need any more runs the way their bullpen performed.
“I mean, it was a one-run game, so there was no margin for error,” Quatraro said. “They put up 4 2/3 scoreless against a really good team, so I can’t overstate them enough. Without that, we’re either still out there or we’re behind.”
UP NEXT
Blue Jays RHP Yariel Rodriguez (0-0, 2.35 ERA) takes the mound Wednesday night against Royals RHP Alec Marsh (3-0, 3.22)