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Kikuchi, Romano dominant as Jays get big win over Phillies

Mark Blinch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

TORONTO (AP) — Cavan Biggio was hit in the foot by a pitch with a bases-loaded pitch in the eighth inning to force in the tiebreaking run in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.

Pinch-hitter Nathan Lukes walked against right-hander Seranthony Domínguez to begin the eighth, and Whit Merrifield reached when left fielder Kyle Schwarber couldn’t hold on to Merrifield’s sinking liner.

Brandon Belt struck out and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked to load the bases before George Springer grounded into a force play, with third baseman Alec Bohm throwing out Lukes out at the plate.

Domínguez (2-3) hit Biggio with his next pitch, bringing Merrifield home from third.

“Cav’s got big feet,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider joked. “That’s a good thing.”

Domínguez allowed a run for the first time in August after pitching five scoreless innings across six appearances this month.

“He was just trying to go back foot and he hit him in the foot,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “It happens.”

Right-hander Jordan Hicks (2-7) struck out all three batters he faced for the victory as Toronto won its second straight after losing the previous three.

“We’re in the heat of the middle of the big wild card battle right now so every game means a lot,” Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi said through a translator.

Toronto began the day with a two-game lead over Seattle for the third and final AL wild card position.

The Blue Jays are 24-12 in interleague play and 9-3 against NL East opponents.

Activated off the injured list earlier Tuesday after missing 16 games because of a sore back, All-Star closer Jordan Romano struck out a pair in the ninth for his 29th save in 32 chances.

“Our bullpen has been almost carrying us all year,” Biggio said. “Can’t say enough about those guys.”

Philadelphia has lost three in a row.

“We had some chances to win the game but you can’t dwell on it,” Bohm said.

After beating Minnesota 13-2 Friday, the Phillies have scored just two runs in their past three games, including a 3-0 shutout loss to the Twins on Sunday.

“I don’t think our guys forgot how to hit,” Thomson said. “It’s a tough loss but we’ve got to shake it off and come back tomorrow and get after it again.”

The Phillies opened the scoring in the sixth when Edmundo Sosa led off with a single and scored on Johan Rojas’ double to left.

Toronto tied it in the bottom half, with Springer singling with two outs to drive in Merrifield.

Kikuchi allowed one run and four hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out seven.

“Kikuchi is tough,” Bohm said. “He’s been throwing really well. Tough to pick up the ball from him.”

Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. Wheeler walked four and struck out five.

“It wasn’t my best but I felt good,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler is 0-2 in six career starts against the Blue Jays.


Phillies: LHP José Alvarado (elbow) allowed one hit and struck out a batter over one scoreless inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. Alvarado is expected to pitch again Friday.

Blue Jays: 3B Matt Chapman missed his second straight game because of a sore right middle finger. Chapman injured himself in Toronto’s weight room before Sunday’s game while returning a dumbbell to its rack. … SS Bo Bichette (right knee) and RHP Trevor Richards (neck) were scheduled to begin rehab assignments at Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday but the Bisons game against Rochester was rained out. The teams play again Wednesday. … Toronto optioned RHP Nate Pearson to Triple-A to make room for Romano.


Kikcuhi has allowed no more than one earned run in six consecutive starts, matching Dave Stieb (1988-89) and current teammate Hyun Jin Ryu (2020) for the longest such streak in Blue Jays history.


Merrifield went 2 for 4 and leads the AL with 42 hits since the All-Star break. His .304 average is fourth-best in the league.


RHP Kevin Gausman (9-6, 3.04 ERA) was set to start for Toronto on Wednesday against RHP Aaron Nola (9-8, 4.49).