TORONTO (AP) Alejandro Kirk homered and drove in three runs, Bo Bichette had four hits and the Toronto Blue Jays put themselves on the brink of a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 11-4 on Friday night.
One more win or a Seattle loss would give Toronto an AL wild card.
Brandon Belt and Matt Chapman each hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays. Bichette went 4 for 5 with an RBI and scored three times as Toronto pounded out 16 hits to win for the ninth time in 13 games.
“This is what we can do,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “These guys are hitting their stride a little bit. The power is coming around and at the right time.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went 3 for 4 with a walk and Cavan Biggio finished 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs.
The Blue Jays (89-71) scored in double figures for the 11th time and matched a season best by moving 18 games above .500.
“It feels great when everybody is hitting,” Kirk said through a translator. “It’s a good feeling. Hopefully we can carry on for the next few days.”
Tampa Bay (97-63) has gone 5-6 against Toronto this season.
Yandy Díaz returned as the Rays’ designated hitter after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring and hit a two-run homer, his 22nd. Díaz went 2 for 2 with a walk before being replaced by Jonathan Aranda in the seventh inning.
“I feel good because I didn’t really feel too much of the pain,” Díaz said through a translator.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said Díaz will likely sit out Saturday and play again Sunday in a final postseason tune-up.
“He looks really healthy, especially with a bat in his hand,” Cash said.
Yusei Kikuchi (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, improving to 4-0 in four career home starts against the Rays. Kikuchi walked two and struck out four.
“That slider has become a pretty big pitch for him,” Cash said.
Kirk hit a solo home run off Aaron Civale (7-5) in the second, his eighth, and added a two-run single off Zack Littell in the third.
Belt greeted right-hander Erasmo Ramírez with a homer in the fourth, his 18th, and Chapman hit a leadoff drive against Ramírez in the fifth, his 17th. Belt and Chapman both homered for the second straight game.
Biggio circled the bases in the fourth with a Little League homer when his single to center field skipped under the glove of Manuel Margot and rolled to the wall for a three-base error. Bichette scored from first base on the play.
It was a rough night for Margot, who also misplayed Chapman’s liner for a two-base error in the third.
“It’s going to happen,” Cash said. “Sometimes those days, they just get you. It looked like he might have taken his eye off the ball. It’s more shocking than anything because he’s so solid for us out there.”
Chad Green replaced Kikuchi after the left-hander gave up three straight hits to begin the sixth.
Civale faced nine batters and got five outs, giving up Kirk’s home run in the second. Littell came on and got four outs while Civale got some extra work in the bullpen after his 40-pitch outing, throwing another 35 pitches.
Rays: 3B Osleivis Basabe (left shoulder) exited after seven innings after he landed awkwardly diving for Bichette’s double in the seventh. “He’s sore,” Cash said, adding that he didn’t think the injury was serious.
SIX FOR FOUR
Bichette has six games with at least four hits this year, matching Shannon Stewart (2000) for Toronto’s single-season record.
Margot also failed to make a leaping catch at the wall on George Springer’s drive Sunday in a home loss to the Blue Jays, leading to an inside-the-park home run.
LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (3-3, 3.31 ERA) is expected to start for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. RHP Shawn Armstrong (1-0, 1.41) will open for Tampa Bay.
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