Corbin Burnes pitched into the eighth inning, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Brosseau homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Saturday.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner extended his winning streak to a season-high three games, but he wasn’t as crisp as in a 2-0 win over the Cardinals on Monday.
“He’s picked up right where he left off last year,” Brewers manager Craig Counselll said. “In the middle innings, I thought he really got cooking.”
In his first career start against Toronto, Burnes (6-4) allowed home runs to Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette and an RBI groundout by Cavan Biggio. He struck nine and walked two, then turned over a 5-3 lead with runners at first and second and two outs in the eighth to Devin Williams, who fanned Alejandro Kirk.
“Those two lazy pitches that were hit out for homers, other than that, it was pretty good,” Burnes said. “Lot of room to grow with the cutter. It was kind of all over the place. I got lazy with it.”
Chapman doubled with two outs and scored on a base hit by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. off Josh Hader, but the closer escaped with his 22nd save when Gabriel Moreno grounded out to first.
Bo knows this one isn’t over ???? pic.twitter.com/dgYF9CObMR
Five days earlier, Burnes stymied the Cardinals on two hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
The Brewers gave him an early 5-0 lead.
Brosseau’s home run leading off the third chased Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi (2-4).
McCutchen hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second. Willy Adames had an RBI single before McCutchen’s homer.
Tyrone Taylor’s hit drove in a run in the first for Milwaukee.
Kikuchi allowed five runs, two earned, on six hits with five strikeouts, a walk, a wild pitch and a hit batter. He slipped to 1-3 in his last seven starts.
‘You got to keep working at it’
“You got to keep working at it,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of his pitcher. “Again, I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for him. He hasn’t pitched well. He put us in a tough spot today.”
Kikuchi knows it.
“I’ve struggled the last few outings mostly with command, falling behind in the count and then pitches where I try to get back into the count are the ones that are getting hit pretty hard,” he said through an interpreter.
Toronto’s bullpen shut down Milwaukee’s offence the rest of the game. Trent Thorton relieved Kikuchi and handled the third and fourth. Max Castillo pitched scoreless ball in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth.
Kirk was back in the lineup as Toronto’s DH. In Friday night’s 9-4 win, his hand got clipped by the backswing from Jonathan Davis in the seventh. Kirk stayed behind the plate for the rest of Davis’ at-bat, but he was replaced by Moreno when the Blue Jays went to the bullpen. Precautionary X-rays were negative.
Blue Jays redesign Fourth of July hats, remove stars
Earlier on Saturday, the Blue Jays announced they had altered the design of an upcoming special edition Fourth of July ballcap.
All 30 Major League Baseball teams were originally scheduled to wear special hats decorated with American emblems to celebrate Independence Day in the United States. But when previews of the caps came out, fans of the Blue Jays voiced their displeasure at Canada’s only MLB team wearing star-spangled hats.
A spokesman for the Blue Jays says that as Canada is a distinct market the club has worked with MLB and New Era, the hats’ manufacturer, to create a uniquely designed cap for Fourth of July festivities that represents the diversity of Toronto and Canada.
The new cap is still predominantly red and white with blue stripes but the stars have been removed.
Toronto begins a three-game series in Oakland against the Athletics on July 4.
The Blue Jays will still wear their red uniforms on Canada Day as they host the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of a rare five-game series.
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