Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Alcides Escobar's two-run double in the seventh inning lifted the Kansas City Royals to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the middle test of a three-game set.
Billy Butler led off the deciding frame with a single off Drew Hutchison (1-2) and was replaced by Jimmy Paredes on first. Paredes stole second and third before Salvador Perez walked to put runners on the corners with one out. After Mike Moustakas popped out, Escobar doubled down the line in left to make it 4-2.
"It's frustrating, but at the end of the day I need to do a better job to give us a chance to win after we came back and scored two runs," Hutchison said. "I was in complete control going into the seventh. It comes down to that it's on me and I need to get the job done."
Escobar was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the season coming into the at-bat.
"He's been very consistent," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Escobar. "He's always been an important part of our club because of his defense. He saves runs in the field. But when you add offense to that, he becomes a very special player."
Eric Hosmer finished 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI for the Royals, winners in three straight.
Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura was stellar once again, allowing just two hits and striking out four over five scoreless innings. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn't allowed a run over his last 13 innings.
Kelvin Herrera (1-1) was awarded the win after tossing a scoreless seventh, and Greg Holland stranded a runner in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.
Edwin Encarnacion was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and Juan Francisco also drove in a run for the Blue Jays, who have dropped seven of their last nine games to fall to 12-15.
Hutchison allowed all four runs on five hits over seven innings to absorb the loss.
Blue Jays center fielder Melky Cabrera left the game in the sixth inning after he was hit by a Danny Duffy pitch in the left leg. Cabrera was helped off the field by the Toronto training staff. Duffy's offering ricocheted off Cabrera's leg all the way to the Royals' dugout as Cabrera fell to the ground in obvious pain clutching the leg.
He was replaced by Jonathan Diaz.
The Royals got on the board in the first inning. Nori Aoki doubled, moved to third on Omar Infante's sacrifice bunt and then scored on Hosmer's sacrifice fly to left field.
Hosmer came through for Kansas City in the fourth to make it a 2-0 margin. Infante doubled then scored on Hosmer's two-bagger to right.
The Blue Jays tied the game with a pair of runs in the sixth. Cabrera was hit by a pitch to start the inning and replaced by Diaz. Jose Bautista then worked a walk to force Duffy from the game. Encarnacion greeted reliever Aaron Crow with a base hit to center to score Diaz, and after Dioner Navarro struck out, Francisco laced a base hit to center to score Bautista.
KC was 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left just three runners on base ... Ventura faced a season-low 19 batters ... The Blue Jays were 2-for-14 with RISP and left 12 runners on base.