By Gregory Strong in Toronto
Dissatisfied with his batting average over the first half of the season, Toronto third baseman Matt Chapman has been working on a minor change to his approach in the batter’s box in recent days.
The adjustment paid off Friday with a three-hit night — including a three-run homer — as the Blue Jays dumped Kansas City 8-1 at Rogers Centre.
“I know that I’m better than a .220 hitter so I was willing to make that change because the results weren’t there,” Chapman said.
Chapman said he started tinkering with things on last week’s road trip. He’s trying to use his legs more at the plate in an effort to drive the ball to all parts of the field.
His power numbers are solid with 15 homers and 45 RBIs and now his average is up to .226 with his 13th multi-hit game of the year.
“Awesome night for him tonight,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. “We all know what he can do defensively and I think he’s really coming around (at the plate).”
Teoscar Hernandez also hit a three-run shot and Alek Manoah (10-4) threw seven strong innings as the Blue Jays won for the third time in four games.
Hernandez went deep off Royals starter Zack Greinke (3-6) in the third inning and Chapman broke things open with a blast off Carlos Hernandez in the fifth.
Manoah allowed four hits and one earned run with six strikeouts. He gave up an infield single to start the game and retired the next 12 batters in order.
“He’s a beast,” Schneider said. “Ten wins tonight and he’s got another gear with runners in scoring position when he runs into trouble.”
Relievers Trevor Richards and Anthony Banda worked an inning apiece. Raimel Tapia also had three hits as Toronto outhit Kansas City 16-5.
Toronto caught a break in the third inning when Bobby Witt Jr., booted a tailor-made double-play ball. Hernandez made the Royals pay by belting a cutter some 416 feet over the wall in centre field for his 12th homer of the year.
Kansas City (36-54) scratched out a run in the fifth after Ryan O’Hearn was hit by a pitch and Nick Pratto singled for his first big-league hit. The runners advanced on a groundout and Nicky Lopez brought O’Hearn home with a single.
In the bottom half, Chapman hit a 399-foot shot that landed in the 200 level just inside the foul screen in left field.
The Royals are using a patchwork lineup of call-ups and regulars for this four-game series. Ten players from the 26-man roster are on the restricted list because of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Announced attendance was 26,422 and the game took two hours 48 minutes to play.
The Royals reinstated right-hander Josh Staumont from the injured list and recalled right-hander Carlos Hernandez from Triple-A Omaha before the game.
Left-hander Angel Zerpa, who earned the win in the series opener, returned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
The Blue Jays have yet to finalize their starter for Saturday’s game. The Royals will send left-hander Daniel Lynch (3-7, 4.92) to the hill.
Jose Berrios (7-4, 5.38) will start for Toronto on Sunday in the final game before the all-star break. Left-hander Kris Bubic (1-6, 6.63) goes for the Royals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2022.
Feature image – Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman hits a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning of American League baseball action in Toronto, Friday, July 15, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker.