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Kirk has 3 RBIs, Bassitt pitches 8 innings as Blue Jays blank Nationals 7-0

TORONTO (AP) — Alejandro Kirk had three hits and three RBIs, Chris Bassitt and Jay Jackson combined on a five-hitter and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 7-0 on Wednesday.

Santiago Espinal had two hits and two RBIs and Ernie Clement had two hits and drove in a run as the Blue Jays took two of three from the Nationals, denying Washington a sixth straight series victory.

Kirk hit a two-run double in the first inning, doubled and scored in the fourth, singled and scored in the sixth and hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

“Kirkie is obviously getting hot, hopefully at the right time,” Bassitt said.

Bassitt (13-7) allowed three hits in eight innings. He leads the majors with eight starts of at least six shutout innings this season.

“It starts on the mound with Chris, he was awesome,” manager John Schneider said.

Kirk said location was the key to Bassitt’s big start.

“The way he mixed his pitches, he was unbelievable today,” Kirk said through a translator. “He’s always good at that but today he was special.

Jackson finished Toronto’s 13th shutout as the Blue Jays ensured they would not lose further ground in the AL wild card race. Toronto began the day 3 1/2 games out of a playoff position.

“I would say every game is a must-win from here on out,” Bassitt said. “There’s a lot of pressure on us, there’s a lot of pressure on a lot of teams. Overall, it’s just get the job done.”

The Nationals were blanked for the sixth time.

“Bassitt was good,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He mixed it up today. We couldn’t get in a groove, couldn’t get anything going.”

Washington had just two singles and a walk through the first four innings. Rookie Jacob Young hit a two-out double in the fifth but Bassitt promptly picked him off.

Bassitt retired the next seven in a row before hitting Riley Adams with a pitch in the eighth. Young grounded into a fielder’s choice and CJ Abrams flied out.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin (9-12) lost for the first time in three starts, allowing six runs and 10 hits in six innings.

“Overall, just a tough day for all of us,” Corbin said.

Corbin has allowed 10 or more hits six times this season, more than any other big league pitcher. Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas has done it four times.

Kirk hit a two-out, two-run double off the left-field wall in the first. He doubled starting the fourth, advanced on Clement’s single and scored on Espinal’s hit. Cavan Biggio followed with a sacrifice fly.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: OF Lane Thomas left after six innings because of a sore back. Alex Call took over in right.

SHUTOUT STATS

Toronto (13) matched Seattle and Cleveland for the most shutouts in the AL.

AUGUST MARK

Toronto was 14-13 in August.

ROCKET MAN

Roger Clemens set a Blue Jays single-season record with nine starts of at least six shutout innings in 1997.

DOUBLES IN THREE

Kirk has doubled in three straight games for the first time in his career.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Joan Adon (2-0, 5.25 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday as the Nationals return home for a four-game series against Miami. LHP Braxton Garrett (7-5, 3.96) starts for the Marlins.

Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (3-1, 2.25 ERA) is expected to start Friday as the Blue Jays begin a three-game series at Colorado.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb