Blue Jays bullpen ruins Yusei Kikuchi’s career night, as the Giants walk off Toronto in a 4-3 loss

Trevor Richards has been on the bright spots in Toronto’s bullpen throughout the season, that was until recently, as in now 3.1 innings, the RHP has allowed six earned runs total, including giving up the game-winning run to the San Fransisco Giants tonight, leading the Blue Jays to drop the game 4-3.

Toronto was up 3-2 heading into the ninth inning, as Richards had only one more out to collect to end the ballgame. Unfortunately, Richards walked Tyler Fitzgerald, putting two runners on base before Brett Wisely hit a single, tying the game at 3.

Richards looked to have struck out Fitzgerald on a 1-2 count to end the ballgame, locating a changeup on the bottom of the strikeout. The pitch while looking like a strike, wasn’t framed well by Jays catcher Danny Jansen and was called a ball.

Now facing Thairo Estrada, Richards threw a changeup in front of the dirt that got away from Jansen, allowing Fitzgerald to score from 3rd. Fitzgerald advanced from 1st to 3rd on the single by Wisely before, as the extra 90 feet was the insurance the Giants needed to win.

The worst part about the collapse of the bullpen is Yusei Kikuchi had his best start for Toronto in a month, striking out a career-high 13 batters and only allowing two runs, both on solo home runs from Heliot Ramos and Fitzgerald.

Even then, Kikuchi pitched 7.1 innings, the second time this season he’s gone at least 7.0 innings. The other time was May 10th, facing the Minnesota Twins, where he went 8.0 innings, allowing two earned runs.

As the July 30th tradeline is on the horizon, Kikuchi is auditioning to join a competitive team’s rotation, and his start against a solid offensive Giants team certainly raised his interest.

Kikuchi was pitching most of the game with no run support after Toronto couldn’t figure out Giants SP Blake Snell tonight, who came off the injured list before today’s game.

Snell, in 5.0 innings tonight, only allowed four base runners on one hit and three walks, the first time all year he’s not given up a run in a start.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t pitch before the season started after signing with the Giants late in spring training and playing catch-up to build up his strength.

Because of all the missed time, Snell has admitted that Major League Baseball players need spring training and that not being able to face a hitter at the highest level of baseball till his first start of the year has been tough on him.

Despite being shut out for six innings, Toronto finally got on the board in the seventh, thanks to Ernie Clement. With two runners on, Clement blasted a three-run home run, and at the time, Toronto looked to win their third straight game.

Clement’s home run was one of three hits for Toronto tonight, which all came from newer members of the Blue Jays, Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz, and Clement.

Toronto also saw a familiar face tonight in Matt Chapman and presented the third baseman with the American League Gold Glove, which he won in 2023.

Chapman also told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi that Toronto showed heavy interest at the end of his free agency decision, but he was already settled to join the Giants.

Toronto will now see Giants ace Logan Webb in tomorrow’s game and will counter with SP Chris Bassitt. In a recent 37.0 inning stretch, Bassit has only given up seven earned runs during that span (1.70 ERA).

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