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Alejandro Kirk, Bo Bichette push Blue Jays to brink of wild card berth with win over Rays

Bo Bichette connects for an RBI double during the seventh inning of Friday night's Blue Jays victory against the Rays in Toronto.Chris Young/Associated Press

TORONTO — Alejandro Kirk homered and drove in three runs, Bo Bichette had four hits and the Toronto Blue Jays put themselves on the brink of a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-4, on Friday night.

A loss by Seattle against Texas later would give the Blue Jays an AL wild card. Losses by the Mariners and Astros would guarantee Toronto the second of three wild-card spots, setting up a best-of-three postseason series at Tampa Bay.

Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman each hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Bichette went 4 for 5 with an RBI and scored three times as Toronto pounded out 16 hits to win for the ninth time in 13 games.


Yandy Díaz returned as the Rays’ designated hitter after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring and hit a two-run homer, his 22nd. Díaz went 2 for 2 with a walk before being replaced by Jonathan Aranda in the seventh inning.

Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, improving to 4-0 in four career home starts against the Rays. Kikuchi walked two and struck out four.

Kirk hit a solo home run off Aaron Civale (7-5) in the second, his eighth, and added a two-run single off Zack Littell in the third.

Belt greeted right-hander Erasmo Ramírez with a homer in the fourth, his 18th, and Chapman hit a leadoff drive against Ramírez in the fifth, his 17th. Belt and Chapman both homered for the second straight game.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3 for 4 with a walk and Cavan Biggio finished 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs.

Biggio circled the bases in the fourth with a Little League homer when his single to center field skipped under the glove of Manuel Margot and rolled to the wall for a three-base error. Bichette scored from first base on the play.


It was a rough night for Margot, who also misplayed Chapman’s liner for a two-base error in the third.

Chad Green replaced Kikuchi after the left-hander gave up three straight hits to begin the sixth.

Civale faced nine batters and got five outs, giving up Kirk’s home run in the second. Littell came on and got four outs while Civale got some extra work in the bullpen after his 40-pitch outing.

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