TORONTO — Teocar Hernandez and Santiago Espinal hit two-run homers, Yuseki Kukuchi struck out a season-high eight in six innings to stop a string of seven winless starts, and the Blue Jays of Toronto defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Thursday.
Hernández hit his eighth homer of the season in the second inning and Espinal homered in the seventh inning, his sixth home run of the season. Both shots were off left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (0-4).
Hernández finished 3-for-4 with a double.
Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs was scheduled to start against Toronto but left the team and was placed on the family medical emergency list.
Right-hander Matt Wisler started the game in place of Springs and was replaced in the second inning by Yarbrough, who was recalled from Triple-A. Yarbrough allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said he wasn’t sure when Springs would rejoin the team.
Kikucho allowed one run on four hits in six innings, his longest start since his last win on May 15 against Seattle. In that span he was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in seven starts.
For the Blue Jays, the Dominicans Hernández 4-3 with two RBIs and one scored; Spinal 4-2 with two produced and one scored; Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 4-0. Mexican Alejandro Kirk 4-1 with a run scored. Cuban Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 4-1 with a run scored. The Venezuelan Gabriel Moreno 2-0.
For the Rays, Mexican Isaac Paredes 4-1 with one produced and one scored. Cubans Yandy Díaz 3-2; Randy Arozarena 4-0. Dominicans Wander Franco 4-1; Vidal Brujan 4-1; Francisco Mejia 3-0. Colombian Harold Ramírez 3-0.
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Blue Jays beat Rays with strong Kikuchi outing