Berríos wins Toronto debut, Jays sweep Royals in return home

Aug 1, 2021, 1:19 AM | Updated: 3:15 pm

TORONTO (AP) — José Berríos pitched six shutout innings in his Toronto debut and the Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep in their first series north of the border since 2019, beating the Kansas City Royals 5-1 Sunday.

Marcus Semien and Santiago Espinal homered to back Toronto’s big-name newcomer.

Acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline Friday for two minor leaguers, Berríos (8-5) allowed five hits, four of them singles.

“I feel really happy about what I did today,” Berríos said. “I was able to throw strikes.”

The two-time All-Star walked one and struck out seven, including four straight in the third and fourth innings.

“His stuff was electric today,” Semien said.

Kansas City loaded the bases with two out in the sixth, but Berríos ended his outing by striking out Edward Olivares and exited with a 5-0 lead.

“I didn’t want to let them take the game from my hands,” Berríos said.

Berríos threw five straight curveballs to fan Olivares and escape the jam.

“I got all breaking balls,” Olivares said via a translator. “He worked both sides of the plate.”

Berríos is 3-0 in three starts against Kansas City this season.

Trevor Richards retired all four batters he faced and Tim Mayza got five outs as Toronto won for the fifth time in six games.

The Blue Jays returned to Canada on Friday after having played the entire 2020 season and the first half of 2021 in both Buffalo and Dunedin, Florida, because of border restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We couldn’t have had a better series to start out our Toronto season,” Semien said.

After George Springer opened the scoring with an RBI double in the third, Semien hit his 25th homer, a two-run drive off Brad Keller (7-10).

Espinal added a solo drive off right-hander Josh Staumont in the fourth.

The Blue Jays hit two home runs in all three games against the Royals. Toronto has hit an MLB-leading 159 homers this season.

Keller stayed in the game after a visit from the trainer in the third but left after the inning because of lower back tightness. He allowed three runs and seven hits.

Olivares ended Kansas City’s 17-inning scoreless streak with a two-out homer off Mayza in the ninth, his second.

CHECK THE TAPE

Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the day off for the first time this season. The All-Star slugger played all 60 games last year and had appeared 101 consecutive games to begin this season.

Springer and Teoscar Hernandez jokingly taped Guerrero to the railing at the end of the dugout bench in the early innings, but freed him soon after.

“His teammates were telling me, ‘Please play him, please play him,’ because he was driving everybody crazy,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of Guerrero. “That’s just who he is, you know? He’s always having fun. He had a good day off, he earned it, and he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

STREAKING

Kansas City’s White Merrifield had a leadoff single in the first, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Merrifield has had one hit in each of his past 10 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio started at 1B in Guerrero’s place. … Springer started at DH.

ROSTER MOVES

Blue Jays: RHP Thomas Hatch and LHP Taylor Saucedo were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room on the roster for Berríos and RHP Joakim Soria.

UP NEXT

Royals: Kansas City is off Monday. The Royals open a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox on Tuesday. LHP Kris Bubic (3-4, 4.58) starts for Kansas City and RHP Dylan Cease (7-6, 4.14) goes for the White Sox.

Blue Jays: LHP Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.04) starts the opener of a four-game series against Cleveland. Ray will face RHP Eli Morgan (1-3, 7.47).

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Australia's Aziz Behich is comforted after losing the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Ar...
Associated Press

What’s next for Australia after World Cup exit?

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Australia’s World Cup adventure came to an end against a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina. A 2-1 loss at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium matched its best-ever performance at soccer’s biggest tournament by reaching the round of 16 for only the second time in its history. EXPECTATION VS. PERFORMANCE Drawn in Group D […]
1 day ago
Argentina's Julian Alvarez celebrates his side's second goal during the World Cup round of 16 socce...
Associated Press

Messi’s sidekick Julián Álvarez flourishing at the World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — This season has been quite an education for Julián Álvarez. From being the understudy to Erling Haaland in his first year at Manchester City to being the sidekick to Lionel Messi for Argentina at the World Cup, Álvarez is learning from the biggest stars in soccer. He’s on the path to […]
1 day ago
FILE - Croatia and Canada fans cheer ahead of the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia an...
Associated Press

Fans’ wild World Cup fashion draws praise, scorn in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The World Cup in Qatar has become a political lightning rod, so it comes as no surprise that soccer fans’ sartorial style has sparked controversy. Forget your classic soccer jerseys – the streets of Doha have been transformed into a chaotic runway show in terms of fashion. Visitors from around the […]
1 day ago
A guard rides his camels outside the Amiri Diwan in Doha, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha ...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Camels a common sight for World Cup visitors

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Two weeks into the first World Cup in the Middle East, fewer teams are at the tournament and some fans are starting to make long journeys home. But there is still plenty to see and do in Qatar for those who remain. Camels are a common sight in Doha. In front […]
1 day ago
FILE - Rory McIlroy, left, of Northern Ireland, and Sergio Garcia, of Spain, walk up the 15th fairw...
Associated Press

McIlroy says Norman rift began with his ‘brainwash’ comment

Rory McIlroy thought his differences with Greg Norman over a Saudi-funded rival golf league had been patched up. That changed when Norman accused him of being “brainwashed” by golf’s ruling brass. “I thought, You know what? I’m going to make it my business now to be as much of a pain in his arse as […]
1 day ago
Calgary Flames' Adam Ruzicka celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during the third p...
Associated Press

Andrew Mangiapane scores twice, Flames beat Capitals 5-2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Andrew Mangiapane scored twice, Adam Ruzicka had a goal and two assists and the Calgary Flames beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Saturday night. “Sometimes, pucks just don’t go in for whatever reason. Maybe you run into a hot goalie or something like that,” Mangiapane said. “Like tonight, when you get […]
1 day ago
Berríos wins Toronto debut, Jays sweep Royals in return home