TORONTO — A familiar foe put another dent in Kansas City’s fading wild-card hopes.
Mark Buehrle pitched seven shutout innings to win his sixth straight decision and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Royals 3-2 on Friday night, ending Kansas City’s winning streak at five games.
“He was terrific,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He kept the ball down, had movement on every pitch, changed speeds really, really well. Just terrific.”
It was Buehrle’s 50th career start against Kansas City and 23rd win over the Royals. Minnesota (28) is the only opponent the veteran left-hander has beaten more often.
Buehrle didn’t stick around to speak to reporters after the game, citing an upset stomach. Before he left, he did a good job of making the Royals look sick, too.
“We just couldn’t get any hits off him, couldn’t get anything rolling,” Alex Gordon said.
The Royals, who came in six games behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card berth, lost for the first time since Aug. 24 against Washington, the final defeat in a seven-game skid.
“This one’s not overly frustrating,” Yost said. “You don’t ever want to lose at this time of year, but it was a good game. We fought to the end, it just didn’t happen.”
Adam Lind drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, who have won 10 of 14 meetings with Kansas City dating to 2011. Second baseman Ryan Goins made a diving play for the final out with two runners aboard.
Buehrle (11-7) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out five to match his longest winning streak since 2005, when he won a career-best nine consecutive decisions. He’s 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past eight outings and has gone 8-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 14 home starts this season.
“He’s got so many different weapons,” Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said. “He’s so good at executing a plan.”
Thanks to Buehrle’s brisk, efficient outing, the game was completed in 2 hours, 24 minutes.
“He works quick, and once he gets in a groove he just gets in that rhythm,” Gordon said. “You look up and it’s the eighth inning and it’s 8 o’clock.”
Arencibia said Buehrle isn’t bothered when opposing batters try to disrupt his pace by stepping out of the box.
“It doesn’t faze him, really,” Arencibia said. “It’s funny because I see teams try to do that and I know he doesn’t care. He’s just ready to pitch.”
Brett Cecil and Sergio Santos worked the eighth before Casey Janssen finished for his 25th save in 27 chances.
Mike Moustakas hit a leadoff single in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Chris Getz. Pinch-hitter David Lough popped out before Jarrod Dyson singled. Pinch-hitter George Kottaras lined out sharply to center, and Janssen ended it by getting Gordon to ground out, with Goins diving for the ball and throwing from his knees.
Ervin Santana (8-8) was the hard-luck loser. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in seven innings, extending his winless streak to five starts. The right-hander walked two and struck out six.
Toronto took the lead with a two-run first. After leadoff batter Jose Reyes flied out on the first pitch, Goins reached on an error by former Blue Jays infielder Emilio Bonifacio at second base. Goins went to third on Edwin Encarnacion’s double, and Lind followed with a two-run single.
“The pitch to Lind wasn’t a bad pitch,” Yost said. “It was kind of middle-away a little bit and he just served it up the middle for the two runs.”
Toronto made it 3-0 in the fifth when Anthony Gose hit a leadoff triple and scored on Goins’ infield single, a hot shot that Moustakas couldn’t handle cleanly at third.
The Royals rallied with two runs off Cecil in the eighth. Alcides Escobar singled and went to third on a base hit by Gordon, then scored on Bonifacio’s sacrifice bunt. Replays showed Bonifacio beat the throw to first, but he was called out by umpire Will Little, bringing Yost out for an argument.
“He wasn’t doing much talking, I was,” Yost said when asked what kind of explanation Little offered.
Eric Hosmer chased Cecil with an RBI single before Santos came on to end the threat. He got some help from third baseman Brett Lawrie, who made a spectacular barehanded catch and throw on Billy Butler’s chopper for the second out.
NOTES: Moustakas returned to the lineup after missing the past three games with an illness. … Royals C Salvador Perez also returned to the lineup. Perez did not start Thursday but came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. … Bonifacio is 9 for 9 in stolen base attempts since being traded from Toronto to Kansas City on Aug. 14. … Royals infielder Chris Getz celebrated his 30th birthday. … Gibbons was Kansas City’s bench coach from 2009-11.