By IAN HARRISON (Associated Press)
TORONTO (TodayNews) — Whit Merrifield and Beau Bichette hit single homers, George Springer drove two runs and emergency starter Chris Bassitt threw six strong pitches as the Toronto Blue Jays won for the seventh time in eight games, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks with score 5: 2. on Saturday.
Merrifield broke the tie with two players by connecting starting National League All-Star Zack Gallen in the fourth, his sixth homer of the season. Bichette provided Toronto with insurance: Homer lost to Scott McGough in eighth place, and his team finished in 16th place.
Merrifield added a sacrifice later in the eighth and finished 2 of 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Bassitt (9-5) won his second straight decision as the Blue Jays climbed over .500 in their best 11 games of the season, 52-41. The 34-year-old right-hander started in place of Kevin Gausman, who was scratched early Saturday due to discomfort in his left side.
“I can’t ask for more on short notice,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “I thought he had a great mix.”
Bassitt allowed two runs and seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
“I told them as soon as they signed me, ‘Look, whenever you want me to throw, I will throw, and I don’t care how many passes you need me to throw, I will throw them. Bassitt said.
Nate Pearson worked seventh, Eric Swanson threw in eighth, and Yimi Garcia completed his second save in four chances.
Arizona has lost three games in a row and nine of 13. The Diamondbacks have led four of their last five innings but have failed to score. They stuck with seven and finished 2 of 7 with runners in scoring position.
“We need to slow down the game and execute it at the critical moment and understand what the situation calls for,” said manager Tori Lovullo.
Gallen (11-4) came in with a 7-0 record after losing to the Diamondbacks but failed to extend that streak against Toronto. The right-hander, who pitched a scoreless innings in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, gave up three runs and six hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out five.
“I felt like I just couldn’t seat the guys,” Gallen said. “I felt like I was throwing decent pitches and they were fouling. They were just waiting for me to get offers they could handle.”
Springer’s bases-laden single in second gave Toronto an early lead, but the Diamondbacks tied it in fourth with two infield hits by Jake McCarthy with two outs to second base. At first, the Blue Jays challenged a close opponent, but the game held.
Merrifield quickly regained Toronto’s lead with a lead homer in the bottom half, a shot that bounced off the top of the left field wall and went out.
Blue Jays: Schneider said Gausman felt unwell after his last start before the All-Star break on July 8 in Detroit. MRI showed no structural damage. Gausman works day in and day out. … RHP Jordan Romano, who pulled out of the All-Star Game due to back pain, was unavailable. According to Schneider, the MRI showed no damage. Romano is everyday.
Gallen, who wears his PitchCom device on the back of his glove, went down at least three times in the first two innings before Schneider complained. Gallen said he believed the excess sweat had caused the tape securing the Velcro fastener to his glove to come loose. Velcro keeps PitchCom in place.
“I think it gets a little wetter here with the roof closed,” Gallen said. “I’m just probably sweating more than usual. Obviously I’m not trying to do this on purpose. I don’t want it to affect my rhythm.”
VLAD HAS BEEN SILENT
Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. won 0-3 on the walk. Guerrero, who won the All-Star Home Run Derby in Seattle last Monday, homered in his first plate appearance on Friday night. Guerrero looked frustrated by plate umpire Junior Valentine after being called out for hitting in the eighth round that ended in a three-pitch bat.
Arizona 3B Emmanuel Rivera was called in for an automatic hit before seeing Bassit’s serve in the second. Rivera received three balls in a row, then fouled on two pitches before hitting.
Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-3, 4.24 ERA) faces Arizona LHP Tommy Henry (5-1, 3.75 ERA) as Toronto sweeps through Sunday’s series finale.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports.