Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Rafael Devers lifted their respective clubs to comfortable victories.
A day of wet weather across the nation deprived us of a slate that would’ve been packed with baseball. The Yankees saw their series opener against the Orioles pushed back a day, though I’m certain the broadcast providers are happy the series is getting slotted into more primetime viewing slots. In all, only two of the Yankees’ rivals saw action Thursday afternoon, with both the Red Sox and Blue Jays picking up easy victories.
Boston Red Sox (3-4) 6, Detroit Tigers (2-5) 3
After getting swept by the Pirates in their second series of the season, the Red Sox looked determined to start off this three-game set against the Tigers on the right foot. Chris Sale followed up his disastrous first start —seven runs in three innings serving up three home runs to the Orioles — with a more palatable outing on this occasion, allowing three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Rafael Devers also put in a strong performance, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and two batted in. The home run came first, putting the Red Sox on the board to lead off the third after they fell behind, 3-0, though the first two innings on a Jake Rogers two-run shot and Miguel Cabrera RBI single.
Following an RBI double from Devers to level the scores at three and a walk by Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall provided the decisive blow in the sixth, crushing a three-run blast to just left of center.
It continues the torrid start to the season for the newly-acquired center fielder — three home runs, three doubles, 12 RBI and a 1.578 OPS — and put a cap on the scoring, 6-3, with John Schreiber, Chris Martin, Ryan Brasier, and Kenley Jansen each contributing a scoreless inning out of the Boston bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays (4-3) 6, Kansas City Royals (1-6) 3
After winning the middle contests of this four-game set in Kansas City, the Blue Jays had a chance to secure their first series victory of the season. Kevin Gausman set the tone early despite his velocity being significantly down to open the campaign. He gave Toronto six scoreless innings, surrendering four hits and two walks against seven strikeouts. Royals starter Jordan Lyles wasn’t so lucky, as despite collecting nine strikeouts, he got tagged for five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
Toronto scored early and often and appeared to be en route to a blowout victory with Gausman doing his thing. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3-for-5 with a home run, Bo Bichette and new center fielder Daulton Varsho had multi-hit afternoons, and even Cavan Biggio left the yard. They scored two in the first on back-to-back RBI doubles by Varsho and Matt Chapman, the pair locked in to begin 2023 with Varsho at a .977 OPS and Chapman at 1.221. Bichette singled in a run in the second while Biggio and Vladito’s blasts came in the fourth and fifth respectively to make it 5-0 Toronto.
Royals star youngster Bobby Witt Jr. was one of the lone bright spots for the home team, going 2-for-5 including a solo shot to lead off a mini-rally in the eighth. The shot down the left field line induced a review that eventually confirmed that the ball stayed fair for the shortstop’s first jack of the new season.
Kansas City ended up scoring three off Toronto reliever Trevor Richards, however the Blue Jays would hold on for a 6-3 victory.