Yusei Kikuchi pitched seven strong innings and matched his MLB career-high with his sixth win on Thursday in the Seattle Mariners’ 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

For the first time in his three-year career in the majors, Kikuchi (6-3) has won five straight decisions as a starter, dating back to May 24. He was 6-11 in his rookie season in 2019 and went 2-4 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

In the finale of a three-game series at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, Kikuchi held the Blue Jays to just one run and five hits, including a first-inning leadoff homer to Marcus Semien. He struck out six of the 25 batters he faced and walked one.

“I was able to put that homer behind me by getting the next batter to hit an infield grounder. It was good I got to pitch aggressively,” Kikuchi said.

“I’m not so concerned about the number of wins. I just want to throw many innings,” he said.

After Semien, the Japanese left-hander did not let another Blue Jay reach second base until Teoscar Hernandez led off the seventh with a double.

Ryu Hyun-jin (7-5) surrendered two homers and lasted just four innings. The South Korean left-hander allowed five runs, four of them earned, on seven hits before he was relieved.

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