Royals set club record for offensive futility in 4-3 defeat
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals’ offense has been historically bad of late.
The Royals set a club record by scoring three or fewer runs in a ninth consecutive game, and Devon Travis hit his second homer of the game in the ninth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over Kansas City 4-3 on Friday night.
The Royals have averaged 2.2 runs and hit .205 in this stretch.
“It’s a broken record,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We just have to find a way to put some runs on the board.”
With one out in the ninth inning, Paulo Orlando reached second on a throwing error but was caught trying to steal third base. Jarrod Dyson then got a pinch-hit single that likely would have scored Orlando from second base.
“He didn’t get a great jump, but he didn’t get a horrible jump,” Yost said. “We can’t sit back. We haven’t got a lot of hits in the last couple of weeks. You’ve got to try to put yourself in position to tie that ball game without the benefit of a hit.”
Travis led off the game with a home run, then ripped a 1-2 pitch from Kelvin Herrera (1-3) into the Royals’ bullpen for his first career multihomer game.
“It definitely up and out of the zone,” Yost said. “I’ve never seen anybody hit a pitch like that off of Herrera.”
Travis hit Herrera’s 97 mph high fastball.
“I don’t know how the guy hit that ball,” Herrera said. “I was shocked.”
Travis is not sure how he hit it that far either.
“I kind of blacked out,” Travis said. “I’m going to go look at the tape. I just tried to open my eyes as wide as I can against him. He’s hard enough to see, a hundred (mph fastball) as it is. I’m just thankful everything worked out.”
Left-hander Brett Cecil (1-6) pitched a spotless eighth for the victory.
Francisco Liriano made his first start with the Blue Jays after being acquired in a trade Monday with Pittsburgh and yielded three runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out three. Liriano had allowed 11 runs, 14 hits — including four home runs — and eight walks in 8 1/3 innings while losing his final two starts with the Pirates.
Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth for his first save since Sept. 3 while with the San Diego Padres. Closer Roberto Osuna was unavailable after pitching the previous two days and in three of the past four.
Right-hander Dillon Gee held the Blue Jays to three runs and four hits over six innings. He gave up a leadoff homer to Travis, then worked his way into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the first.
“They’re a great lineup,” Gee said. “I was just trying to give us a chance to win. I was able to do that. I didn’t feel great tonight. It was a battle for sure.”
Gee walked Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion in the third and both scored. Michael Saunders’ double scored Donaldson, and Encarnacion came home on Troy Tulowitzki’s groundout, giving the Blue Jays a 3-1 advantage.
The Royals tied it in the fifth on Orlando’s leadoff home run and Lorenzo Cain’s run-producing triple with two outs.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen (rotator cuff inflammation) threw a bullpen session and could begin a minor league rehab assignment soon. ... LHP Jason Vargas, who has not pitched since July 21, 2015 and needed reconstructive elbow surgery, will make his first rehab start Saturday in the Arizona League. He is scheduled to pitch two innings.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez has not lost since April 22 to Oakland and makes his first August start after going 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in July. He held the Royals to three hits and one run over eight innings in a victory July 4.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy struck out a franchise-record 16 Rays in his start Monday and lost his no-hit bid on Desmond Jennings’ double in the eighth.