TORONTO – Matt Chapman had a two-run homer and added a solo shot as the Toronto Blue Jays held on for a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

Alejandro Kirk had an RBI single and added a double, going 2-for-3 for Toronto (55-44). Danny Jansen added a run with a sacrifice fly.

Yusei Kikuchi (4-5) struck out five, holding the Tigers to two hits, a walk, and one run over five innings.

It was Kikuchi’s first start since July 5 after a stint on the Blue Jays’ 15-day injured list with a neck strain.

Adam Cimber, Tim Mayza, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano came out of Toronto’s bullpen. Mayza and Garcia each gave up a run but Romano got the final four outs of the game for his 23rd save of the year.

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Willi Castro and Jonathan Schoop had one home run apiece for Detroit (40-60) with Eric Haase earning an RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Tyler Alexander (2-4) allowed three runs — two earned — on five hits and a walk over four innings. Will Vest, Angel De Jesus, Jose Cisnero and Alex Lange came on in relief for the Tigers.

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Castro’s home run in the second inning opened the scoring, bouncing the ball off the top of the wall in centre-right field. Pitchers in the nearby Tigers’ bullpen threw their hands in the air to celebrate the homer as Castro rounded the bases.

Kirk replied for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the third, with his hit dropping into centre field for a single. That gave George Springer enough time to score from second to tie the game 1-1. Springer had reached base on a throwing error by Detroit shortstop Javy Baez, making it an unearned run.

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Chapman gave Toronto its first lead of the game, putting an 83.3 m.p.h. change-up from Alexander over the left-field wall. The 346-foot blast also scored Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to make it 3-1.

Two innings later Chapman struck again, hitting his second home run of the game. His 18th of the year came off of a 94.5 m.p.h. slider from De Jesus.

Schoop chipped away at Toronto’s lead with a homer in the seventh inning. His seventh of the season came on a 2-2 count, taking Mayza’s 88 m.p.h. slider to left field.

Garcia pitched himself into a jam in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs. He got future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera to fly out to right field with George Springer holding the runners.

After a nine-pitch at bat Haase hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field, scoring Victor Reyes from third to cut the Blue Jays’ lead to 4-3. That brought Romano out from Toronto’s dugout, inducing a groundout to limit the damage for Toronto.

Jansen gave the Blue Jays some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth, with his fly ball to deep left field bringing home Gurriel from third. Gurriel had reached base on a throwing error from Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario.

Chapman scooped up two ground balls for the first two outs of the ninth and then Romano induced a fly ball to deep right field to preserve the win.

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MAKE ROOM — Right-handed reliever Jeremy Beasley was optioned to the Blue Jays’ triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., ahead of Thursday’s game. The move made space on the Blue Jays’ roster for Kikuchi’s return from the injured list.

UP NEXT — Blue Jays all-star Alek Manoah (11-4) will take the mound on Friday as Toronto continues its four-game series against the Tigers. Bryan Garcia (0-0) will make his first start of the season for Detroit.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press