Blue Jays blank Royals 3-0, Guerrero hits first HR

By Marc Bowman
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Alek Manoah allowed one hit over seven innings, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his first homer of the season and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Manoah (1-0) held the Royals hitless until Jackie Bradley Jr. singled with one out in the fifth.

“I think we were able to attack them for the most part and force them to dig out of a hole,” Manoah said. “Just going out there and letting that defense work. I think I was able to do that, to go out there and command most of my pitches, limit damage and get some weak contact.

“The weather, a little gloomy, a little windy, little cold. I just kept trying to blow into my hand. Some of those balls can get a little bit slick. Still left some pitches that I felt like command-wise need to be a little bit better. But, it was a good day on the mound and we got a win.”

Despite struggling to locate his off-speed pitches for strikes, Manoah struck out five with four walks.

“He really buckled down when he needed to,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “He’s a fiery competitor. He kind of has a different gear. You trust him in those spots. His competitive aspect really comes out.”

Toronto broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with a one-out grounder by Matt Chapman, plating Guerrero. With runners at the corners, Chapman appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play, but first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino was unable to handle Bobby Witt Jr.’s low relay after the force out.

The Blue Jays added a pair of runs in the eighth with Guerrero’s opposite-field leadoff homer and a run-producing single by Chapman. Guerrero and Daulton Varsho had three hits apiece.

“(Going opposite field is) tough to do in this ballpark, this weather,” Schneider said. “That’s impressive. That’s Vladdy being Vladdy right there.”

Guerrero said the key was being more relaxed at the plate.

“I believe when you’re trying too hard, when you look for it, it’s going to be harder,” he said. “So I feel relaxed. I got a good pitch and put good contact and it went well.”

Zack Greinke (0-2) worked ahead of batters all night, throwing first-pitch strikes to 20-of-25 hitters. He threw six innings, allowing a run on seven singles and a walk, striking out three.

“A pitcher like him with that experience, he goes out there every day and competes,” Guerrero said. “So when you face him you’ve got to do the same thing, you’ve got to compete. You’ve got to have good at-bats against him.”

Manoah also enjoyed the competition against Greinke.

“I thought it was great, his definition of pitching,” Manoah said. “Obviously a future Hall of Famer. It was great to be able to go zero-zero for five or six innings there. That was pretty fun.”

Jordan Romano closed out Kansas City with a scoreless ninth inning, collecting his third save in three chances.

The Royals were shut out for the third time in six games.

Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1, 0.00 ERA) took the mound opposite Royals RHP Jordan Lyles (0-1, 1.69) in the series finale Thursday afternoon.