Kirk exits early with bruised hand after 4-hit night in Blue Jays' rout of Brewers

Alejandro Kirk went 4-for-4 and homered for the third straight game before leaving with a bruised left hand in the seventh inning of the visiting Toronto Blue Jays' 9-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

Catcher homers for 3rd straight game while Alek Manoah earns 9th win of season

The Blue Jays' Alejandro Kirk celebrates a two-run home run against the Brewers in a 9-4 road win on Friday. He went 4-for-4 with a home run before exiting with a bruised left hand. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Alejandro Kirk didn't even need to play a full game to continue cementing his status as one of baseball's best hitting catchers.

Kirk went 4-for-4 and homered for the third straight game before leaving with a bruised left hand in the seventh inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 9-4 victory over the hometown Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

He appeared to get hit in the hand on a backswing from Jonathan Davis in the seventh. The 23-year-old Kirk remained in the game for the rest of that at-bat before leaving at the same time the Blue Jays made a pitching change. He underwent precautionary X-rays that came back negative.

"I can flex it," Kirk said through an interpreter. "It's a little sore, a little uncomfortable right now, but hopefully tomorrow it feels a little better."

Kirk's big night represented the latest chapter in his breakthrough season. He is hitting .321 with nine homers, 28 runs batted in, a .406 on-base percentage and .913 on-base plus slugging percentage.

"How do you pitch to him?" Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He can hit the ball inside. He doesn't chase bad pitches. He's always ahead in the count and he can go the other way. He's doing what it takes to be one of the best hitters in baseball."

Kirk led an all-around quality performance by the Blue Jays.

Alek Manoah (9-2) pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, Cavan Biggio homered and Matt Chapman delivered a bases-loaded double as Toronto won the first meeting between the teams since 2017.

Milwaukee's Tyrone Taylor homered for the second consecutive game and Christian Yelich drove in two runs.

Manoah struck out six and allowed five hits, three walks and two runs to bounce back after giving up a season-high four runs in a 4-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday. He threw a season-high 106 pitches.

"I feel great," Manoah said. "Probably could have gone a little longer if I didn't walk some of those guys, but we'll continue to get better and work on the next one."

Manoah has pitched so well this season that Friday's performance actually caused his ERA to rise to 2.05. The Blue Jays are 26-8 in Manoah's 34 career starts.

Toronto grabbed an early 5-0 lead by opening the second inning with six straight hits against Adrian Houser (4-8). Chapman knocked home three runs with a bases-clearing double down the left-field line and scored when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ripped a double to right.

"He missed some balls in the middle of the plate, and they hit them hard," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

The Blue Jays extended their lead to 8-1 by scoring three in the seventh off Trevor Kelley, who allowed Biggio's solo shot and Kirk's two-run blast.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added an RBI double off Peter Strzelecki in the ninth. The Brewers scored twice in the bottom half.

Friday marked the first time Montoyo had ever set foot in Milwaukee's ballpark, even though the Brewers drafted him twice — in the 26th round in 1986 and the sixth round in 1987.

Montoyo made it as far as the Brewers' triple-A affiliate before getting traded to the Montreal Expos in 1993.

Jays hitting coach barred 5 games

Blue Jays hitting coach Guillermo Martinez was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount after his heated argument with umpire Doug Eddings before a game Wednesday.

The altercation occurred during the lineup card exchange before Toronto's game in Chicago against the White Sox to close a three-game series.

Martinez brought out the lineup card, a task usually performed by manager Charlie Montoyo, and shook hands with the umpires before getting in an animated argument with Eddings. Martinez was ejected from the game.

MLB said in a release Friday that Martinez was being sanctioned for unsportsmanlike conduct and making contact with Eddings.

Eddings, who was assigned to third base for Wednesday's game, was behind the plate for Toronto's 7-6 loss to Chicago on Tuesday.

The suspension began when Toronto opened a three-game series with the Brewers on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Blue Jays pitcher Yimi Garcia went on the 15-day injured list with a left back strain. Jeremy Beasley was recalled from triple-A Buffalo. Outfielder George Springer was out of the lineup for a second straight game with an elbow issue. Nate Pearson, who still hasn't pitched for Toronto this season, is dealing with a lat strain.

Yusei Kikuchi (2-3, 4.94 ERA) starts for the Blue Jays and Corbin Burnes (5-4, 2.31) pitches for the Brewers when the three-game series continues Saturday afternoon.

With files from The Canadian Press

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