The shortstop hit a two-run double with two outs in the seventh
inning, snapping a tie and lifting the Royals to a 4-2 victory over
the Blue Jays.
Escobar's two-out, two-strike hit scored pinch runner Jimmy Paredes,
who swiped two bases, and catcher Salvador Perez.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, stranded 12 runners, including eight after
the fifth inning, and went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring
"We left some guys on, but they throw some pitching at you," Blue
Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They've got some big-time arms.
They're good. They've got a real shot at this (American League
Central) division over here. They're great competitors. They battle
you and they're going to get their bats going. They can shut you
down with their pitching staff."
Escobar started the season slowly, but he is 16-for-47 (.340) with
seven extra-base hits in his past 14 games.
"He's always been an important part of our club because of his
defense," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He saves runs in the field.
But when you add offense to that, he becomes a very special player."
Escobar hit a puny .234 last year with a .259 on-base percentage and
a .300 slugging percentage.
"That's last year. That's done," Escobar said.
Right-hander Kelvin Herrera, the third of six Kansas City pitchers,
picked up the victory. Herrera (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh
Toronto right-hander Drew Hutchison (1-2) allowed four runs on five
hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out five.
"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. It comes down to that it's on me and I need to get the job
The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the eighth on two walks and a
single off Wade Davis, but the right-hander struck out shortstop
Jose Reyes on three pitches, all called, to end the threat.
"It's one of those games where we had opportunities but didn't get
the timely hit," said Blue Jays second baseman Chris Getz, who
stroked two hits and drew a walk. "Obviously, the name of the game
is getting those timely hits, but they made their pitches. The
strength of their team is the bullpen and defense. They came through
when they needed to make a pitch."
Kansas City closer Greg Holland worked the ninth to log his seventh
save in as many chances.
"The mark of a good bullpen is when you have guys pick each other up
when they get in jams," Holland said.
The Royals improved their record to 14-0 when scoring at least four
[to top of second column]
"The Blue Jays tied the score at 2-2 in the sixth off relievers Danny
Duffy and Aaron Crow. Duffy's first pitch struck left fielder Melky
Cabrera. Cabrera, who leads the majors with 41 hits, exited with a
bruised left shin, but X-rays were negative. He is listed as
day-to-day, but Gibbons said he did not know if Cabrera would be
able to play Thursday.
He's going to be all right," Gibbons said. "He got it right on the
shin pretty good, but there's nothing broken in there."
Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista drew his 30th walk, tying a club
record for a month. Duffy, who threw only one strike in six pitches,
then was replaced by Crow, who surrendered run-producing singles to
third baseman Juan Francisco and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
The Royals manufactured a run in the first. Right fielder Nori Aoki
led off with a double down the left field line. Second baseman Omar
Infante's sacrifice bunt advanced Aoki to third, and Aoki scored on
first baseman Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly.
The Royals made it 2-0 in the fourth when Infante and Hosmer hit
back-to-back doubles to open the inning. There was a video review
after Hosmer was called out at the plate on left fielder Alex
Gordon's grounder. Following a 2-minute, 25-second delay, the call
was upheld that Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro did not block the
plate in violation of the rules.
Royals rookie right-hander Yordando "Ace" Ventura limited the Blue
Jays to two singles and no runs over five innings, lowering his ERA
to an American League-low 1.50. The Blue Jays did not have a runner
reach second base with Ventura on the mound.
"The only thing I'm really upset about is Yordano didn't get the
well-deserved win," Duffy said.
NOTES: Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie, who started the first 26 games,
was out of the lineup due to back tightness. He was replaced by Juan
Francisco, who went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. ... Toronto
RHP Casey Janssen, who is on the disabled list because of a back
injury, threw a bullpen session Wednesday and has another scheduled
for Friday. If all goes well, Janssen likely will go to the minors
for a rehab assignment. ... The Royals are making contingency plans
should LHP Bruce Chen, who received an epidural for a bulging disk
in his lower back, not be able to make his Saturday start against
the Detroit Tigers. Chen will throw a bullpen session Thursday to
see how his back responds.
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