Jays' Hutchison wins rookie debut

Pitcher Drew Hutchison became the first Blue Jay rookie since Ricky Romero (April 9, 2009) to win...

Pitcher Drew Hutchison became the first Blue Jay rookie since Ricky Romero (April 9, 2009) to win his debut as a starter, as Toronto bombed the Royals 9-5 Saturday night in Kansas City. (GETTY IMAGES)

Ken Fidlin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

KANSAS CITY - Over the next decade or two, Drew Hutchison no doubt will craft some tidier victories but none that will stick more vividly in his memory than his first.

With just six starts above class-A ball under his belt, the 2009 15th-round Blue Jays draft choice took some lumps in his major-league debut Saturday but, with timely help from his bat-wielding friends, gritted out a 9-5 victory over the struggling Kansas City Royals.

“It was pretty cool,” said Hutchison. “Something I will always remember.

“I got behind a lot of hitters, the offence did a great job and the defence made some good plays. It was good to get it out of the way. I wasn’t that nervous, a little different feeling but I enjoyed it.”

Colby Rasmus belted two home runs and drove in four runs while Edwin Encarnacion chimed in with his fourth homer and three RBI to spearhead Toronto’s 14-hit attack, sending the Royals to their ninth consecutive defeat.

For the second straight night, J.P. Arencibia had a pair of hits, while Brett Lawrie also had two hits, an RBI and a highlight reel defensive play to start a double play in the seventh.

Hutchison, just 21 years old, gave up eight hits, three walks and five earned runs over 51/3 innings in a bend-but-don’t-break performance that featured his pitching IQ and composure far beyond his years.

“Drew threw the ball as we anticipated,” said Farrell. “I thought he kept his poise. He threw strikes. At times he got a little bit fine with his two-seamer and fell behind but, all in all, I think it was an impressive first-time out.”

Testament to the confidence the Jays staff has in Hutchison is that even after he allowed four runs in the fifth inning to surrender what had been a three-run lead, they sent him back out for the sixth inning.

Rasmus’ first home run in the top of the sixth, a two-run shot, allowed the Jays to regain the lead 6-5. Encarnacion’s two-run bomb in the seventh extended that lead and Rasmus finished it off.

Hutchison becomes the first Blue Jays rookie since Ricky Romero (April 9, 2009) to win his debut as a starter.

“Being mentioned with (Romero) as the last guy to do it, is very humbling company.”

Hutchison’s mom, dad and sister were all on hand, having flown in from Florida.

“It was real nice, exciting for me and for them that they were a part of it,” Drew said. “They’ve given up a lot for me to be in this position so they really deserve to be here.”

In the first inning, after Hutchison got the leadoff batter, Yuniesky Betancourt, on a fly ball, he served up a mistake to Alex Gordon and Gordon hit it over the wall at the deepest point of Kaufmann Stadium for a 1-0 Kansas City lead, a blow that might have rattled many pitchers his age.

So shaken was Hutchison that he struck out the next two hitters. In the second inning, after two were out, he gave up a walk and a single, then fanned Mitch Maier to end the inning.

In the third, he gave up a leadoff double to Betancourt, then stranded him there after a strikeout, a hit batsman and a double-play ball.

In the top of the fourth, the Blue Jays sent nine men to the plate, scored four runs and ended KC starter Luis Mendoza’s night.

Adam Lind led off with a double and went to third on a groundout by Eric Thames. Encarnacion then drove in Lind to tie the game with the first of five consecutive Toronto singles that produced three more runs before Jose Bautista hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Royals got to Hutchison for four runs in the fifth to regain the lead. Alcides Escobar led off with a double and scored on a Maier triple. Betancourt promptly singled him home.

After Gordon walked, Butler hit into a third-to-first double play. Hosmer then regained the lead for Kansas City with a long two-run home run to right-centre. Hutchison then got Jeff Francoeur to fly out, ending the inning.

Two batters into the top of the sixth, the Jays had regained the lead. Brett Lawrie led off with a single and then Rasmus belted his second homer of the year, a two-run shot to right off lefty Everett Teaford.

“It is a team,” said Farrell, “and tonight was a very good offensive night. We did a lot of good things. Anytime you put nine runs on the board, it’s a good night.”

Hutchison came out for the sixth inning, having thrown only 90 pitches over five. He got the first man he faced on a groundout, but after a walk to Moustakas and a single by Escobar put runners at first and third, Darren Oliver was summoned from the pen. He got a strikeout, then a fly ball to end the threat.

Encarnacion then gave his club a three-run cushion, belting his fourth home run, a two-run shot off reliever Kelvin Herrera. One out later, Rasmus blasted his second homer of the game way out of the park to right.


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