TORONTO – Adam Lind started the season as Toronto's cleanup hitter, then struggled so badly that he was demoted to the minor leagues.
Relaxed and rejuvenated after a stint at Triple-A, Lind is swinging well in the eighth spot and looks set to be bumped up in the batting order.
Lind hit a three-run homer, Brett Cecil won for the first time in three starts and the Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Tuesday night.
"He's relaxed at the plate," manager John Farrell said of Lind. "He's got improved bat speed since he went down to Las Vegas. Probably wouldn't be a surprise tomorrow if he's up a little higher in the order."
Lind's sixth homer was the big blow in Toronto's six-run fourth inning. The win put the Blue Jays over .500 at 41-40 at the midpoint of the season.
Lind was demoted to the minors in mid May and hit .392 with 29 RBIs in 32 games at Triple-A Las Vegas. Since being recalled on June 25, three of his six hits have been home runs.
"What I worked on down there was being more relaxed and having more rhythm," Lind said. "(The ball) is definitely not looking bigger but it looks a little slower."
Cecil (2-1) allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings to win for the first time since June 17 against Philadelphia, his first start after being promoted from Triple-A. The left-hander walked one and struck out three.
"Brett with a solid effort for us tonight," Farrell said. "With the exception of the third inning, it felt like he stayed out of the middle of the plate. He mixed and matched his stuff well."
Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver each worked one inning before Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.
The Royals blew a 3-0 lead and lost for the fourth time in five games since matching their season high with a four-game winning streak.
"We scored early but we couldn't put it together in the second half of the ball game," outfielder Jason Bourgeois said.
Cecil set down the first six batters in order but ran into trouble in the third, when Jeff Francoeur and Salvador Perez led off with singles and scored on Bourgeois' triple. Alex Gordon followed with a sacrifice fly.
"From that point forward, I thought (Cecil) executed his pitches well," Farrell said.
The Blue Jays managed just two hits, both singles, through the first three innings but erupted for six runs and eight hits in the fourth off Royals right-hander Vin Mazzaro.
Brett Lawrie started the inning with a single, Colby Rasmus bunted for a hit, Jose Bautista flied out and Edwin Encarnacion drove in Lawrie with an infield single. Kelly Johnson struck out and Yunel Escobar beat out an infield hit to load the bases for Rajai Davis, who lined a two-run single through the right side. Lind followed with a homer off the facing of the second deck in right.
"(The inning) just kind of built up on him, then culminated with the home run from Adam Lind," Yost said.
Cecil left after Mike Moustakas doubled to begin the seventh. Frasor came on and got Francoeur to ground out, with Moustakas advancing to third. Perez followed with a fly ball to right, but Bautista threw out Moustakas at the plate for his major league-leading 11th outfield assist.
Starting for the first time since June 22, Mazzaro (3-3) allowed six runs and a season-high 13 hits in 5 1-3 innings. He was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game, and declined to speak with reporters.
"He wasn't slated to throw through the All-Star break so we'll get another arm in here," manager Ned Yost said. The Royals will announce a corresponding roster move Wednesday.
Lind's homer was the first allowed by Mazzaro since Minnesota's Rene Tosoni connected off him on Sept. 27, 2011, snapping a streak of 27 2-3 innings without a long ball.
NOTES: Toronto signed RHP Marcus Stroman, the 22nd overall pick in the June draft. ... Royals LHP Everett Teaford, who beat the Blue Jays on Monday for his first victory of the season, is expected to start again Sunday at Detroit, Kansas City's final game before the All-Star break. ... Lawrie had two of Toronto's eight hits in the fourth. ... All nine Blue Jays batters had at least one hit.