Jays suffer another loss
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Alcides Escobar is a maestro with his glove, making the kinds difficult of plays at shortstop that has helped to make the Kansas City Royals one of the best defensive teams in baseball.
Last night, Escobar showed he can swing the bat a bit, too.
“He’s been very consistent,” said Royals’ manager Ned Yost.
“He’s always been an important part of our club because of his defence,” he noted. “He saves runs in the field.
“But when you add offence to that, he becomes a very special player.”
Eric Hosmer drove in the other two runs for the Royals, whose bullpen blew a 2-0 lead for young starter Yordano Ventura before holding on to beat Toronto with a late rally for the second-straight night.
Kansas City won the series opener 10-7 behind a six-run eighth inning.
Kelvin Herrera (1-1) stranded runners on second and third in the seventh before Wade Davis struck out Jose Reyes to leave the bases loaded in the eighth.
Greg Holland then worked around a double in the ninth for his seventh save in seven tries.
“You play 162 games. You’re going to see a lot of things happen,” Holland said.
“The mark of a good bullpen is when you have guys pick each other up when they get in jams,” he noted.
Drew Hutchison (1-2) allowed all four runs on five hits in seven innings for Toronto.
The 23-year-old right-hander, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery, kept the Royals mostly off balance until Escobar guided his double down the left-field line with two outs in the seventh.
Jimmy Paredes and Salvy Perez scored easily to give Kansas City the lead.
“I got ahead of him. I went right at him. I thought I made a good pitch,” Hutchison said.
“That’s a situation where I expect myself to thrive and get the job done, but I didn’t.”
The Royals improved to 14-0 when scoring at least four runs—they remain 0-12 falling short of that mark.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Toronto also lost outfielder Melky Cabrera in the sixth inning when he was hit in the left shin by a pitch from Danny Duffy.
Cabrera needed to be helped off the field, though X-rays taken at the ballpark came back negative and a team spokesman said he was day-to-day.
The Royals manufactured a 1-0 lead through driving rain in the first inning with a double by Nori Aoki, a sacrifice bunt, and Hosmer’s sacrifice fly.
They tacked on another run in the fourth when Hosmer followed a double by Omar Infante with one of his own.
As long as Ventura was pitching, it seemed that would be enough.
The Jays struggled to catch up to the 22-year-old’s triple-digit fastball, managing just two hits over five innings.
But they were more successful at avoiding stuff off the plate—driving up his pitch count and forcing him from the game after five innings and 92 pitches.
“It was cold out there,” Ventura said through a translator, fellow starter Jeremy Guthrie.
“Naturally, it was a little more difficult to command.”
That’s when Royals’ manager Ned Yost called on Duffy, who hit Cabrera with his first pitch.
Cabrera dropped to the grass in foul territory and stayed there several minutes—eventually getting helped through the dugout and to the clubhouse by the Jays’ trainers.
Duffy proceeded to walk Jose Bautista on five pitches and was yanked for Aaron Crow, who gave up singles to Edwin Encarnacion and Juan Francisco that tied the game 2-2.
Crow finally escaped the inning, and the Royals’ bullpen held Toronto down the rest of the way.
“It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day I need to do a better job to give us a chance to win after we came back and scored two runs,” Hutchison said.
“I was in complete control going into the seventh,” he added.
“It comes down to that it’s on me and I need to get the job done.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit beat Chicago 5-1, L.A. upended Cleveland 7-1, and Oakland bombed Texas 12-1.
Seattle at New York and Tampa Bay at Boston were postponed.
Over in the NL, St. Louis beat Milwaukee 9-3, Miami dumped Atlanta 9-3, Chicago upended Cincinnati 9-4, Arizona topped Colorado 5-4 (10 innings), and San Francisco edged San Diego 3-2
New York at Philadelphia was postponed.