video thumbnail

TOR@KC: Moustakas drills a solo shot to right

KANSAS CITY -- Home sure ain't sweet for the Royals. Not yet, anyway.

The Royals have yet to win at Kauffman Stadium this season, losing their seventh straight game at home as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 4-3 victory on Friday night in front of 23,065 chilled fans. The loss also extended the Royals' losing skid to eight games, which began with the last road game at Oakland.

Things are going so bad that the Royals were victims of the extremely rare triple play.

"Not much going right for us now in those situations. Can't really catch a break," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We've got to get a little bit of momentum going somewhere, but sometimes you've got to go out and grab the momentum and we haven't been able to do it in the last week or so."

The Blue Jays wiped out a 2-1 Kansas City lead with three runs in the eighth against reliever Greg Holland, who faced five batters and couldn't get an out. Colby Rasmus started the uprising with a double, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista contributed RBI singles and, after Jose Mijares relieved Holland, Edwin Encarnacion added a sacrifice fly.

"I was just leaving balls up, I couldn't get the ball down and I fell behind and just didn't make pitches," Holland said.

Holland, a gritty right-hander who had a 1.80 ERA last season, is stuck with an 11.37 figure this year.

"He was so good for us last year, he just really hasn't hit his stride yet," Yost said. "He's starting to fight it a little bit maybe."

The Royals got a run in the ninth against closer Sergio Santos as Alcides Escobar doubled, stole third and scored on Yuniesky Betancourt's two-out single. Chris Getz ran for Betancourt and stole second, but Santos got Eric Hosmer to roll into the game-ending out.

Give Toronto credit for the defensive show-stopper.

Hosmer couldn't have hit a ball any harder. And it couldn't have turned out any better for the Blue Jays.

The Royals had something going in the third inning when Alex Gordon doubled into the right-field corner and Betancourt drew a walk. Hosmer hit a whistling shot that first baseman Adam Lind caught just above the dirt. He quickly stepped on the bag to double up Betancourt and fired to shortstop Yunel Escobar to, yep, triple up Gordon.

"That's a tough read, because it's caught right at ground level," Yost said about Gordon getting caught off second. "You try to freeze on anything on the line and make sure you don't get doubled up, especially with nobody out. He just took one step too far and ended up paying for it."

So rare that it was the first triple play pulled off by the Blue Jays since 1979 and the first time the Royals had hit into one since the same year.

Speaking of rarities, Royals starter Luke Hochevar was working on a no-hitter through four innings. A nice beginning for a guy who'd had his start delayed a couple days because he'd taken a shot off the left ankle a week ago. The no-no ended as Eric Thames opened the fifth with a single and later scored on Arencibia's single.

And that was Hochevar's last inning, because Yost noticed his pitcher, after covering first base late on Thames' hit down the first-base line, began favoring his ankle.

"When I went over to cover first base, my cleats stuck and grabbed me a little bit, but for the most part it felt stable," Hochevar said.

But Yost didn't want to take a chance of further injury to Hochevar, so his 2-1 lead was turned over the bullpen.

Mike Moustakas got the Royals' first run with a home run into the right-field bullpen off right-hander Kyle Drabek. That was Moustakas' second homer of the season and must have provided him a sigh of relief. Last year Moustakas homered in his second game after being called up and didn't get connect again until 74 games and 281 at-bats later. This time, the gap between homers Nos. 1 and No. 2 was a mere 11 games and 37 at-bats.

Drabek wild-pitched the Royals' second run home in the fourth with Jeff Francoeur dashing in from third. Wildness was a Drabek trademark, departing after 5 1/3 innings with six walks and 100 pitches -- of which only 49 were deemed strikes.

"Tonight, he did bend, but he didn't break," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell.

The Royals also distinguished themselves on defense. Moustakas dove to his left at third to spear Encarnacion's shot and throw him out in the second inning. Gordon dashed toward the line for a nice catch of Kelly Johnson's liner in the sixth.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar got downright acrobatic in the seventh when he snared Thames' broken-bat bouncer at second base, managed to tag the sliding Encarnacion while pirouetting out the way and got off a throw to Hosmer for a double play.

"There's not a lot of shortstops that are going to be able to make that play," Yost said. "To be able to maintain your focus, try to stay on the bag, reach and then tag the guy on the head. And then turn around and still fire a strike to first base was a tremendous play."

But, of course, the Blue Jays had the headline-maker with their triple play on Hosmer's scorcher.

"It's kind of the way things been going for me the last couple weeks," said Hosmer, who's hitting .173 so far. "That's baseball. You've just got to keep plugging along."

Told that nobody on the Royals had hit into a triple play in the last 33 years, Hosmer smiled grimly.

"Yeah, I'm the guy to do it," he said.

MLB.com Comments