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TOR@KC: Hosmer goes yard to put Royals in front

KANSAS CITY -- Home, they say, is where the heart is. So far for the Royals, it's where the hurt is.

They absorbed their ninth straight loss -- including all eight home games this season -- as the Toronto Blue Jays prevailed, 9-5, on Saturday night while 27,804 fans, most of them expectant and ultimately disappointed, watched at Kauffman Stadium.

It's already the most consecutive losses at home to start a season by the Royals, and is just one shy of the record nine straight at home during the 2005 and '06 seasons.

The Royals got a solo homer from Alex Gordon in the first inning and a two-run shot from Eric Hosmer in a four-run fifth that gave them a 5-4 lead.

Manager Ned Yost has been looking for a big inning and a big hit to lift the Royals out of the doldrums. Maybe this was it.

"I thought, 'OK, here we go,'" Yost said. "But then we came right back out and gave up a two-run homer, and it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit."

That blast in the Blue Jays' sixth was by Colby Rasmus following a single by Brett Lawrie against reliever Everett Teaford, and the Royals were behind to stay. They got buried deeper when Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and Rasmus added a solo homer in the seventh, both off rookie Kelvin Herrera.

That all came after Royals starter Luis Mendoza was drilled for four runs in the fourth inning.

"The guys offensively did a good job," Mendoza said. "We've just got to figure out how to get the outs."

The victory went to right-hander Drew Hutchison, 21, who last year at this time was pitching for the Lansing Lugnuts, one of Toronto's Class A clubs. This was his Major League debut.

"But I thought he kept his poise. He threw strikes, with his fastball particularly," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "All in all, I think it was an impressive first time out."

Aside from Gordon's welcoming home run, Hutchison didn't have much trouble until the fifth.

Alcides Escobar doubled to left and scored on Mitch Maier's triple to the right-center gap. Yuniesky Betancourt looped an RBI single. Gordon walked, but things seemed to stall when Billy Butler, going after a 3-0 pitch, rapped into a third-to-first double play.

That's when Hosmer lit up the sky and the crowd with a 413-foot drive into the right-field Party Porch for two runs and a 5-4 lead. It was his third homer.

"It felt good off the bat and it was good for me to get that one in. I've been hitting balls hard, just nothing to show for it right now," Hosmer said.

Hosmer's average is .179 at the moment with just 10 hits, although he's tied with Butler for the team lead in RBIs at nine.

"Hosmer's numbers are no justification for how he's swung the bat," Maier said. "He's hit more balls hard at people in the last week -- today he got one up in the air and got it out of here. He's swung the bat as well as you can but he hasn't had the luck."

The lead Hosmer provided, of course, didn't last in the avalanche of three Toronto home runs.

"On the positive side, you see some good signs on the offense, starting come out of it," Yost said. "Hoz is swinging the bat the last couple of nights, really stinging the ball with not much to show for it. Gordon with a couple of good at-bats, a couple of hits. Those are good signs."

Indeed, the Royals did hit the ball hard against the Blue Jays, but four of those smashes were turned into double plays.

"When we fall behind in counts, they hit home runs," Teaford said. "When they fall behind in counts, we hit into crush double plays."

When the Royals threatened with two on and one out in the ninth, Gordon hit a shot that the Blue Jays turned into a game-ending double play.

"At least it wasn't a triple play," Teaford said. "That's a plus for now."

The Royals are keeping stiff upper lips as they face their long skid.

"We've shown flashes here and there, we just haven't put it together yet," Maier said. "It's going to come."

"Just keep pluggin'," Yost said. "They're good enough to find a way to break out of it, and when they do they're going to score a bunch of runs and this streak will be way in the rear-view mirror."

"We feel good right now and I think our time's coming," Hosmer said.

There might be a slogan in there somewhere.

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