Bichette, Jays look to take series in Seattle
Bo Bichette has already made a believer out of his manager, Charlie Montoyo. Can the rest of baseball be far behind?
The rookie shortstop went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBIs Saturday night as the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a six-game slide with a 7-5 victory against the host Seattle Mariners.
The teams wrap up the three-game series Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Park.
"It's amazing what this kid is doing," Montoyo told reporters. "It's not easy to hit like that against all kinds of pitching. He's been fun. The guy's going to be a star for a long time."
Bichette, who hit two home runs last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, hit a solo homer in the third inning Saturday against longtime Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
"Confidence. He's got confidence," Montoya said. "He believes in himself, and that's one thing you don't want to take away from players. He can hit anybody, and he has so far."
Bichette singled home a run in a four-run seventh inning that gave Toronto the lead and added a run-scoring double in the eighth to provide an insurance run.
Bichette, the son of former major-leaguer Dante Bichette, credits his father.
"Growing up, my dad let me do my thing and be athletic, be myself," Bichette told MLB.com. "I was never forced into one swing, so I'm able to make adjustments on the fly."
Bichette also showed his potential with his glove.
With the Blue Jays leading 7-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mariners threatened. With runners at second and third and one out, pinch hitter Tom Murphy grounded to short. Instead of gambling to turn a double play or just to take the easy out at first, Bichette fired the ball home to throw Daniel Vogelbach out at the plate.
"I told him when he got to the dugout, dude that's why you're going to play 20 years in this league and I only played a month, because I would have gone to first," Montoya said. "He has those instincts and it's awesome to see, 'OK, I got this guy.' Nice and relaxed. You have to be relaxed to make that play because if you don't make the right play, it's a big mess. It's bases loaded. To be that cool and collected ... it's fun to watch."
The Blue Jays' rally spoiled a strong outing from Hernandez, who was making his first start since May 11 because of shoulder issues.
"I've been here for a long time," Hernandez told MLB.com, referring to his 15 seasons with the Mariners. "Just to be out there with my teammates and competing, it was fun."
The Blue Jays will try to take the series Sunday when right-hander Clay Buchholz (0-2, 6.57 ERA) is scheduled to return from the 60-day injured list to make his first start since May 5. Buchholz has been battling a Grade 2 teres major muscle strain in his upper back but has made three rehabilitation starts. Buchholz is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in five career starts against Seattle.
The Mariners will left-hander Marco Gonzales (13-10, 4.30) to the mound. Gonzales will be attempting to set a single-season high for victories. He's 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in one career start against Toronto.
--Field Level MediaHome