Royals can't overcome Jays' big eighth in 7-3 loss
MAY 02, 2014 12:11a ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A three-run eighth inning off Royals rookie Michael Mariot blew up a tight game as the Blue Jays rolled to a 7-3 win Thursday night.
The loss snapped the Royals' three-game winning streak.
"We had a little run going," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said, "they hit us with a big eighth and we couldn't overcome it. That's it. We had won three straight so we put this behind us and start a new streak tomorrow."
Jeremy Guthrie started for the Royals and had a 2-1 lead before surrendering a two-run homer to Juan Francisco in the fourth. The Royals forged a 3-3 tie with a run in the fifth, but Guthrie gave up another homer, this one to Colby Rasmus in the sixth that put the Jays up 4-3 for good.
A frustrated Guthrie ended the inning by snaring a wicked line drive from Jose Reyes, and then taking the ball and firing it into the third deck at Kauffman Stadium.
"I just wanted a fan up there to get a ball," Guthrie said.
-- Billy Ball returning? Billy Butler's average (.235) is slowly creeping up as he delivered two more hits Thursday. Butler smoked an RBI single to left in the third, and then drilled a shot to the left-center-field wall in the fifth for an RBI double. Butler's first hit gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. His second tied it at 3-3. Butler slowly but surely seems to be climbing out of his slump.
"I knew it would happen, I just didn't know when," Butler said. "I'm feeling good and it's a confidence boost when you start to see results. I'm swinging at the pitches I want to swing at now."
-- You don't run on Alex. Toronto's Jose Bautista drilled a two-out liner in the fifth inning that rattled into the left-field corner. But Bautista obviously knew who was patrolling the area -- Gold Glover Alex Gordon. Bautista settled for a 330-foot single instead of what looked at first like a routine double. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to left-center that would have scored Bautista. At the time, it was a big play as the Jays were holding onto a 3-2 lead.
-- Omar knows how to lead off. Omar Infante, voted by the media as the Royals' Player of the Month for April, showed why. Hitting leadoff, Infante singled in the first, walked and scored in the third, and singled and scored in the fifth. And, of course, Infante played flawlessly in the field.
-- A bad send by Sveum. The Royals possibly had a chance for a big inning in the third. Infante walked and Eric Hosmer laced a double to right, sending Infante to third. Butler followed with a sharp single to left. Infante scored and third-base coach Dale Sveum sent Hosmer, too, even though Jays left fielder Anthony Gose got to the ball as Hosmer was reaching third. Gose's throw home got Hosmer somewhat easily.
It was a strange send by Sveum with no outs. Instead of having runners at the corners with no outs, the Royals just had Butler at first and one out. Sal Perez followed with a fly to left that would have scored Hosmer. Alex Gordon then grounded out. The Royals probably should have left the third inning with at least a 3-1 lead instead of just 2-1.
But manager Ned Yost said he was OK with Sveum sending Hosmer. "I've coached some third base and it's tough," Yost said. "You know, we knew Gose had just gotten called up, and it seemed like a good idea to try it there. I'm OK with it. You have to play to win."
-- Situational hitting letdown. It's easy to pick on a player who hasn't played much, but outfielder Justin Maxwell, playing for Norichika Aoki, couldn't come through with a fly ball or a hit in the sixth with Gordon on third and one out. Maxwell struck out weakly against left-hander Mark Buehrle with the Royals still in the game, trailing 4-3.
-- Tough night for Mariot. Mariot let a 4-3 game slip completely away in the eighth. After a 1-2-3 seventh, Mariot walked the first hitter he faced, then gave up two hits to load the bases. He then walked Rasmus, forcing in a run. Yost finally hooked him, but it was likely too late -- Louis Coleman came in and served up a two-run single and the Jays put it out of reach at 7-3.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.