TORONTO - Canadian Abraham Toro's early two-run homer helped the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Owen Miller hit a two-run double for the Brewers (29-26), who lead the National League Central.
Milwaukee starterJulio Teheran (1-1) gave up an unearned run on four hits over six innings in a quality start.
Relievers Joel Payamps, Peter Strzelecki and Devin Williams protected Teheran's lead.
Kevin Kiermaier's fifth-inning triple drove in a run for Toronto (29-27).
Cavan Biggio's fielder's choice also scored a run in the seventh.
Toronto starter Alek Manoah (1-6) continued to struggle this season in giving up two runs on three hits and three walks over four innings.
Trevor Richards, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, and Anthony Bass came out of the Blue Jays' bullpen, with Mayza giving up two runs.
In his first at-bat of the season, Montreal's Toro launched an 0-2 offering from Manoah just inside the right-field foul netting.
Toro scored Brian Anderson, who led off the second inning with a walk.
Although Manoah's earned-run average improved from 5.53 to 5.46 with his four-inning performance Wednesday, he's not close to his all-star numbers of last season.
He had a 2.23 ERA in 2022 and finished third in Cy Young voting as the American League's best pitcher.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider said before the game that Manoah was improving but he needed one thing: strikes.
“Just attacking the zone, that was a big priority in between his last start and now,” said Schneider. “Getting ahead and staying on the attack and I think if he does that it'll be in good shape.”
Manoah threw 59 strikes in his 89-pitch outing, but managed just two strikeouts before he was pulled in favour of Richards.
Kiermaier cut Milwaukee's lead by a run when his base hit eluded Anderson in right field, which gave Whit Merrifield ample time to score from first.
Kiermaier's fourth triple of the season made it 2-1 for the Brewers.
Miller's double in the seventh cashed in Joey Wiemer and Christian Yelich for a pair of runs.
They'd both reached base with singles, but then executed a double steal to put themselves in scoring position.
Biggio hit into a fielder's choice in the bottom of the inning with Merrifield and Matt Chapman on second and third, respectively.
Brewers shortstop Brice Turang slightly bobbled the play, allowing Chapman to score and Merrifield to advance to third, but Biggio was thrown out at first.
Bass was loudly booed by most of the 42,205 in attendance at Rogers Centre a day after the Toronto reliever apologized for sharing a homophobic video on Instagram.
The boos began when he was announced coming out of the Blue Jays bullpen and continued throughout his inning on the mound.
“I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine and I'm truly sorry for that,” Bass said to reporters Tuesday.
KIERMAIER BACK - Kiermaier returned to the Blue Jays' lineup Wednesday after missing two games with back soreness. The three-time Gold Glove winner hit ninth in the batting order against Milwaukee despite hitting .319 this season with four home runs and five stolen bases.
ON DECK - Kevin Gausman (3-3) takes the mound as Toronto closes out its three-game series against the Brewers in a Thursday matinee. Freddy Peralta (5-4) gets the start for Milwaukee.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2023.