Deadline addition Zobrist homers twice as Royals outslug Jays
After a big win over the Blue Jays, it was slow jam time in the Kansas City Royals clubhouse. Seated around a table in the middle of the room, Kendrys Morales and Danny Duffy gave a spirited sing-along to Whitney Houston’s `I Will Always Love You."
Maybe they were dedicating it to new teammate Ben Zobrist.
Zobrist hit solo home runs from both sides of the plate, Eric Hosmer singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Royals beat Toronto 7-6 on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.
"We had to have this one today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had to."
Zobrist, who went 3 for 4 and scored three runs, homered from the right side in the first and doubled and scored in the sixth.
"It feels incredible," Zobrist said. "You try and put good swings on the ball from both sides of the plate when you have to switch around during the game but it’s tough."
Yordano Ventura (6-7) gave up five runs and six hits in seven innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time since April.
"I thought he threw the ball great," Yost said. "These guys are hotter than heck and their power is amazing."
Wade Davis worked the eighth and Greg Holland pitched around a walk and a single for his 23rd save. Josh Donaldson grounded out to end it, stranding the tying run at third as Toronto fell to 11-23 in one-run games.
Facing new Blue Jays reliever Mark Lowe, Zobrist turned around to the left side and tied it at 5 with a drive to right. Lorenzo Cain doubled and scored on Hosmer’s base hit, Morales singled Hosmer to third and Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly.
Lowe (0-2) was charged with three runs after allowing just four in 34 prior appearances this season.
"That’s not going to make or break his career in Toronto," manager John Gibbons said of Lowe’s difficult debut.
Jose Bautista hit two solo homers and Josh Donaldson added a two-run drive, but Toronto’s winning streak ended at three.
Bautista connected off Davis in the eighth, the first home run allowed by the Royals reliever in 125 2/3 innings. Davis hadn’t given up a homer since Washington’s Ian Desmond hit one off him on Aug. 24, 2013, Davis’ most recent start.
"Wade is the best setup man in the game," Yost said. "That’s not even arguable. He really does a great job of limiting the extra base hits."
Edwin Encarnacion almost went back-to-back with Bautista, but his drive to center was caught on the warning track.
Toronto’s Mark Buehrle set down 15 of 16 following Zobrist’s one-out drive in the first.
Ventura started even stronger, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. That streak ended when the Blue Jays strung together four straight singles in the fourth, including RBI hits by Justin Smoak and Dioner Navarro.
Toronto made it 5-1 in the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Donaldson, a two-run drive into the second deck, and Bautista. It was the sixth time this season the Blue Jays have hit consecutive home runs.
Kansas City answered in the sixth when Buehrle’s throwing error opened the door for a three-run rally. Hosmer extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run single and Kendrys Morales drove in the third run with a base hit to right.
A four-time Gold Glove winner, Buehrle said he was embarrassed by his error.
"It kind of unfolded after that," he said.
Buehrle allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings.
The Blue Jays capped a busy week of trade deadline activity with a flurry or roster moves before the game, adding Lowe and outfielder Ben Revere, acquired Friday from Seattle and Philadelphia.
Toronto also recalled infielder Munenori Kawasaki from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned right-hander Ryan Tepera to Buffalo. Infielder Danny Valencia and outfielder Eqezuiel Carrera were designated for assignment.
LEFT AND RIGHT
Before Zobrist, Wilson Betemit was the previous Royals player to homer from both sides of the plate, doing it June 10, 2010 at Minnesota.
Royals: Davis returned after sitting out Friday’s loss with a sore back.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (10-5, 3.21 ERA) seeks his third straight victory as he faces Toronto for the second time this season. He gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings against the Blue Jays on July 12, but only run one was earned.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-10, 4.27 ERA) will pitch on three days of rest in spot left vacant when LHP Felix Doubront was designated for assignment. Dickey moved up so new LHP David Price could get an extra day before his Toronto debut Monday against Minnesota.