Royals rally to beat Blue Jays 8-6 in 10
TORONTO — On the day they changed their batting coach, every hitter in the Kansas City Royals’ lineup banged out at least one hit.
None was bigger, however, than Omar Infante’s two-run single in the 10th inning.
Infante had two hits and three RBIs and the Royals overcame two home runs by Edwin Encarnacion to beat the Blue Jays 8-6 on Thursday night, snapping Toronto’s winning streak at nine games.
The Royals had 14 hits on the same day they shook up their staff, making Dale Sveum the hitting coach and Mike Jirschele their third-base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, was reassigned as a catching instructor.
Manager Ned Yost saw an immediate improvement in Kansas City’s offense, which came in having scored the fewest runs in the AL.
"They sure looked a lot better tonight," Yost said. "That’s kind of what you hope for. You get a different voice and it kind of snaps everybody back to reality a little bit."
Facing Todd Redmond (0-4), Alcides Escobar singled to begin the 10th. Pedro Ciriaco was hit on the front of the helmet while squaring to bunt and Nori Aoki advanced the runners with a sacrifice before Infante lined a single just over the reach of leaping third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Wade Davis (4-1) worked two innings for the win and Greg Holland closed it out for his 15th save in 16 chances.
The Blue Jays were on the verge of victory in the ninth before the Royals tied it with an unearned run off Casey Janssen, who blew a save for the first time in nine chances.
"We were looking at two outs, nobody on in the ninth and darned if we didn’t make it work," Yost said.
After Jose Bautista threw out Billy Butler at first base from right field for the second out, Alex Gordon singled to left and was replaced by pinch runner Jarrod Dyson, who stole second and scored when Encarnacion couldn’t handle an errant, bouncing throw from shortstop Jose Reyes on Salvador Perez’s grounder.
"There’s no excuse," Reyes said. "I should make a better throw there. That’s a routine ground ball, I got it perfect. I just didn’t have enough on the throw."
Reyes batted with a runner on in the 10th but couldn’t atone for his gaffe, striking out looking to end it.
Perez hit a solo homer in the second for the Royals, who snapped a four-game skid and avoided matching their longest losing streak of the season.
"We were facing a hot team that had swept their last three teams," Dyson said. "I thought we did a great job to come over here and kind of break that up a little bit and get going."
Encarnacion matched a major-league record with his fifth multihomer game in a month. Albert Belle did it in September 1995 and Harmon Killebrew in May 1959.
"I don’t know where it goes down in history, but it’s pretty historic in my mind," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
The blasts were Encarnacion’s 15th and 16th in May, breaking Bautista’s team record for homers in a month. Bautista hit 14 in June 2012.
"Encarnacion is probably the hottest hitter on the planet right now," Yost said.
The major-league record for home runs in May is 17, set by Barry Bonds in 2001. Encarnacion has two games remaining this month.
Encarnacion has 18 total homers, second in the majors to Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz, who entered play Thursday with 19.
Both of Encarnacion’s homers, which came in the fourth and sixth innings, were two-run shots into the second deck, and both came off Royals right-hander James Shields.
Bautista added a two-run shot in the first as the Blue Jays boosted their major-league-leading total to 79. Toronto has hit at least one home run in 11 of the past 12 games.
Shields came in having won four straight decisions and was 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his past eight starts against Toronto, but he couldn’t duplicate that success. He allowed six runs and eight hits in seven innings, including a season-worst three homers. Shields walked none and struck out six.
Toronto’s R.A. Dickey allowed five runs and a season-worst 10 hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
NOTES: Kansas City has 22 home runs, the fewest in the majors. … Janssen had converted 23 straight save opportunities. … Royals LHP Jason Vargas (4-2) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (4-1) on Friday.