Published November 20, 2014
If reliever Marc Rzepczynski could have found the strike zone in the seventh, there might not have been any need for the Toronto Blue Jays to play extra innings.
Eric Hosmer hit a game-ending single in the 11th inning Monday night, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Jays 3-2 to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Royals tied it in the bottom of the seventh when Rzepczynski walked three, including Hosmer with the bases loaded to tie it. He threw only one strike in 13 pitches before being replaced by Octavio Dotel.
"I just didn't throw strikes," Rzepczynski said. "You've got to let them hit the ball. I was fine in the bullpen. Usually when I miss it's to the arm side. Tonight it was down. It's just one of those days when I didn't throw strikes. No matter what pitch I threw, I missed."
He replaced Shawn Camp, who yielded a single to Matt Treanor, with two outs in the seventh and the Blue Jays up 2-1. Rzepczynski threw a first-pitch strike to Alex Gordon and then proceeded to throw 12 consecutive balls.
"The three walks was the turning point there to extend the game," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "It was a small strike zone that everybody was dealing with the whole night."
Hosmer had a hand in all three of Kansas City's runs with two RBIs and scored a run. Chris Getz led off the Royals 11th with a bunt single off Frank Francisco (1-3) and stopped at second on Brayan Pena's groundball single to left. Alcides Escobar moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Alex Gordon was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out. After Melky Cabrera lined out to third, Hosmer delivered the game-winning hit.
Joakim Soria (4-3), who was removed from the closer's role May 30 after blowing three saves in a week, picked up the victory. He did not allow a hit in two innings.
Francisco, the seventh Toronto pitcher, gave up a run on three hits and a walk.
The Jays got an unearned run in the fourth when Yunel Escobar reached first on Mike Aviles' throwing error to lead off the inning. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, took third on a groundout and scored on Jose Bautista's grounder.
The Royals answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth when Hosmer was safe at first on Escobar's throwing error to start the inning. He scored on Aviles' two-out triple, the first hit Brandon Morrow allowed.
Paulino exited in the seventh when he gave up a run on two hits and a groundout. Rivera and J.P. Arencibia led off the innings with singles. Aaron Hill's fielder's choice ground out scored Rivera.
In his three games with Kansas City, Paulino has a 0.56 ERA, allowing one run on eight hits in 16 innings.
Morrow held the Royals to one unearned run and two hits over six innings, while striking out five and walking three.
"It was hot," Morrow said. "You've got to pace yourself for it, for your legs to get through it. I felt better as I went along. I felt good, strong all the way through, once I found my release point. If I had not had the command problems early on I would have gone back out there in the seventh."
NOTES: RHP Vin Mazzaro, who was 0-0 with a 22.74 ERA in two May appearances, was recalled after the game Monday from Triple-A Omaha and will start Tuesday against the Blue Jays. The Royals optioned RHP Jesse Chavez to Omaha. RHP Jesse Litsch threw up to 180 feet on a flat surface, 45-feet off a mound and will throw his first bullpen session Tuesday since going on the Blue Jays' disabled list May 20 with a right shoulder impingement. "He had no ill effects and had a full range of motion," Farrell said. "We'll be getting him into a simulated game in four or five days. He'll have to make multiple starts in rehab because of the nature of the injury." When OF Mitch Maier struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth it was only his 24th at-bat, although he has been with the Royals all season. Farrell said 1B Adam Lind, who came off the DL Saturday after missing 24 games with lower back stiffness, will play the field one day and be the DH the next.