TORONTO (AP) — Blue Jays rookie Alek Manoah didn’t show any signs of rust in his return from a bruised back.
Manoah pitched seven dominant innings, George Springer hit two home runs and Toronto beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 Saturday for its third straight win.
Activated off the 10-day injured list before the game, Manoah (3-1) allowed just two singles. Manoah hadn’t pitched since July 9 after slipping on the dugout steps and hurting his back during Toronto’s first series following the All-Star break.
“It kind of got me pretty good,” Manoah said of his fall, which happened at Buffalo’s Sahlen Field. “It was a long couple of weeks and I’m just so happy and so grateful to be back on that mound.
“Body felt really good, everything felt good. I was able to throw a lot of strikes and get the boys a win," he said.
Manoah’s outing was far better than manager Charlie Montoyo expected.
“We didn’t know what to expect and he was sharp,” Montoyo said. “His fastball wasn’t as hard today but that’s more impressive to me because he was pitching. He knows how to pitch for a young guy.”
Royals manager Mike Matheny was equally impressed with Manoah’s performance.
“He had good, heavy sink,” Matheny said. “Established the inside of the plate and then spun the ball really well. He was speeding us up and slowing us down, and he executed when he needed to. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
Kansas City was shut out for the sixth time this season. The Royals are 17-33 on the road.
Manoah has struck out 56 batters in his first nine career starts, the most by any pitcher in Blue Jays history
Manoah retired 16 straight batters in between the pair of hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Reliever Ryan Borucki got two outs in the eighth and Adam Cimber finished the combined three-hitter by striking out four straight batters.
Springer jumped on Mike Minor’s first pitch of the game and hit it into the second deck in left field, the 40th leadoff homer of his career.
“I knew I hit it OK but off the bat it looked like it was going to go foul,” Springer said. “I just said, ‘Stay fair,’ and I’m glad it did.”
Springer went the other way off Minor (8-9) in the third, a two-run drive to right-center. The home runs were his 10th and 11th of the season, and gave him 16 career multihomer games.
Springer has six home runs and six doubles in his past 13 games. He’s hitting .388 (19 for 49) in that span, and has 10 RBIs.
The Blue Jays have hit an MLB-leading 157 home runs this season.
“I love the way everybody approaches every at-bat, especially with guys on base,” Springer said.
Toronto made it 4-0 in the sixth when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached on an infield single and Marcus Semien followed with a triple past a diving Michael A. Taylor in center field.
Minor allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings, losing to Toronto for the second time in nine outings, both this season.
OPEN AND SHUT CASE
The roof at Rogers Centre slid closed when a light rain began falling in the bottom of the third, but opened again before the seventh after the rain had passed.
Cimber has not allowed a home run in 52 innings, the longest active streak in the majors.
Royals: INF Emmanuel Rivera (broken left hand) went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice fly in his third rehab game at Double-A Northwest Arkansas Friday.
Blue Jays: RHP Trent Thornton was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to open a roster spot for Manoah.
The Royals recalled OF Edward Olivares from Triple-A Omaha and optioned INF Lucius Fox to Triple-A. Fox will remain on the taxi squad.
RHP José Berríos (7-5, 3.48) is expected to make his Toronto debut in Sunday’s series finale after being acquired from Minnesota on Friday. RHP Brad Keller (7-9, 5.55) starts for the Royals.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports