Bichette helps Blue Jays complete White Sox sweep
TORONTO – Bo Bichette had a home run and two RBI singles as the Toronto Blue Jays swept the Chicago White Sox with an 8-0 victory on Wednesday afternoon.
Whit Merrifield stretched his on-base streak to 19 games with a hit in the fourth and a two-run single in the seventh as Toronto (16-9) won its fourth straight, including the three-game sweep of Chicago.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in two runs with a double in the third and Santiago Espinal added an RBI single in the fourth.
Yusei Kikuchi (4-0) struck out eight and held the White Sox to just four hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. Relievers Erik Swanson, Yimi Garcia, and Trevor Richards preserved his win.
Michael Kopech (0-3) gave up four runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four, in five innings of work as Chicago (7-18) dropped its seventh in a row.
Jimmy Lambert, Keynan Middleton and Gregory Santos came out of the White Sox bullpen.
Kikuchi struck out the first two batters he faced and then caught a break when Luis Robert Jr. tried to stretch a single off the right-field wall into a double. Right-fielder George Springer got the throw into 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-hit single into right field, giving Espinal plenty of time to run home from second and advance George Springer to third.
Guerrero followed that up with a double down the first-base line, scoring Springer and Bichette for a 3-0 Toronto lead.
Springer was removed from the game in the next inning after suffering a right-hand contusion. Preliminary X-rays came back negative.
Espinal tacked on a run in the fourth, putting a base hit into left-centre field to drive in Daulton Varsho. It was Espinal’s first game back in the lineup after the second baseman was struck on his wrist by a fastball from New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole on Saturday.
Bichette sailed his fifth home run of the season into the left-field foul netting in the seventh inning. He watched the looping shot with a relatively low exit velocity of 95.3 m.p.h. for a moment before trotting around the bases to the cheers of the 35,069 fans at Rogers Centre.
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Guerrero, Matt Chapman and Varsho all reached base after Bichette’s blast and, after Alejandro Kirk struck out, Merrifield came to the plate. His 21st hit of the season scored Guerrero and Chapman for a 7-0 Toronto lead.
Merrifield has reached based in every game he has played in this year.
Bichette had his second RBI single of the game in the eighth. His hit bounced down the first-base line into deep right field, allowing Espinal to cross home standing up.
GRIFF — Veteran reporter Richard Griffin threw out the ceremonial opening pitch as he celebrated 50 years in baseball. The 68-year-old Griffin worked in communications for both the Montreal Expos and Blue Jays and was also a longtime columnist for the Toronto Star. He said before the game he wouldn’t throw from the rubber because he has too much respect for the mound.
ON DECK — The Blue Jays have Thursday off before opening up a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre.
The White Sox return to Chicago to host the Tampa Bay Rays.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2023.
© 2023 The Canadian Press