The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo.–Sean Reid-Foley acknowledged he was a bundle of nerves from his first pitch to his last in his big-league debut.
Ryan O’Hearn homered and drove in a career-high three runs, and Brad Keller threw seven strong innings, as the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 last night to spoil Reid-Foley’s first game.
Reid-Foley (0-1) was removed after 97 pitches and five innings, allowing three runs, six hits, and three walks while striking out three.
Considered among Toronto’s top pitching prospects, the 22-year-old Reid-Foley is only the second player in major-league history to be born in Guam.
He was 12-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 23 minor-league starts this season.
“I couldn’t really feel my body because I was so nervous,” Reid-Foley admitted. “I felt like my legs weren’t really working.
“That’s why a lot of my misses were way out of the zone.
“I was still nervous in the fifth,” he added. “Every pitch, still nervous.”
O’Hearn, a rookie who entered hitting .130 with three RBIs, hit an opposite-field homer on Reid-Foley’s first pitch with Brett Phillips aboard with two outs in the second.
“[Opposite-field power] is something that has kind of got me here,” O’Hearn said.
“It’s definitely something that has been one of my strengths.”
O’Hearn then walked with the bases loaded in the fourth to bring home Lucas Duda, who had led off the inning with a single.
Keller (5-5) yielded one run and four hits to pick up his third victory in his past four decisions.
Wily Peralta worked around Justin Smoak’s walk leading off the ninth for his seventh save.
Devon Travis homered in the first for Toronto.
“The pitch before, he shattered his bat,” Keller said. “So I tried to go back in there and he barrelled with me around the pole.
“I made a good pitch and didn’t dwell on it, and just tried to go after the next guy.”
Jays’ catcher Danny Jansen singled to left in the second in his first big-league at-bat.
“The whole day I was trying to tell myself it’s the same game,” Jansen said.
“And when I got into the box, I was just trying to breathe and trying to put a barrel on the ball.”
Russell Martin tried to score from second on Jansen’s single but Alex Gordon threw him out.
Gordon picked up his ninth assist, and leads the majors with 91 outfield assists since 2010 when he was moved from third base to left field.
Salvador Perez threw out Randal Grichuk on a strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play to end the sixth.
Perez has thrown out eight of 10 since the all-star break.
“You dare them to run,” Royals’ manager Ned Yost said on Gordon and Perez.
“I’m like, ‘Please run.'”
Whit Merrifield had three of Kansas City’s seven hits. The Royals got just their second victory in 11 games.
The Jays, meanwhile, dropped 31 games behind AL East leader Boston–the furthest they have been out of first since ending 2004 33.5 games behind the N.Y. Yankees.
Reid-Foley and Jansen became the first batterymates to make their major-league debuts at the same time in the American League since LHP Billy Rohr and C Russ Gibson on April 14, 1967 for Boston at Yankee Stadium.
It has occurred five times in the past 25 years in the National League.
“Both those guys ought to feel real good, even if it was a bad result,” Jays’ manager John Gibbons said.
Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) will begin running the bases this week.
Gibbons is hopeful Donaldson will play again this season.
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit beat Chicago 9-5 and Oakland topped Seattle 7-6.