Blue Jays blow it in Kansas City
Toronto Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett had his longest outing of the season but shortstop David Eckstein made two costly errors, leading to an 8-4 win Friday night for the Kansas City Royals.
Burnett (2-2) left the game at Kaufmann Stadium with one out in the eighth inning and a 4-3 lead when the roof fell in for the Blue Jays.
Reliever Scott Downs took a grounder and wheeled to throw back to Eckstein, for what had the makings of an inning-ending double play. Eckstein dropped the toss, his second error of the game, allowing the tying run to score.
Kansas City followed up with three hits in the inning to add four more runs. The Royals had lost their previous seven games.
Toronto has dropped five games in a row and eight of the last 10. They are 0-4 on a nine-game road trip that will conclude next week in Boston.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons described the team's current state as "rock bottom."
"We got the ground ball we needed," Gibbons said. "We had the chance to turn a double play but couldn't get the out."
Burnett struck out a season-high six and walked three in 7-1/3 innings, the longest he has lasted in a game this season. He allowed eight hits and five runs, four of them earned.
Scott Rolen made his regular season debut for the Blue Jays and hit a two-run double in the top of the eighth to give Toronto a 4-2 lead. Rolen, acquired in a January trade, broke his finger in late March.
Lyle Overbay hit his first home run of the season for Toronto (10-14), with Vernon Wells credited with his team-leading 17th run batted in.
David De Jesus had three RBIs for Kansas City (10-13), with John Buck knocking in two with a pair of doubles.
Zack Greinke had another strong start for the Royals, allowing one run on five hits over seven innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Leo Nunez (2-0) was the fortunate recipient of the win. He allowed three runs in the eighth, but his teammates bailed him out with their six-run spurt in the bottom of the inning.
Jays leave runners stranded
Toronto again was hampered by an inability to bring runners in scoring position across home plate.
With Rolen and Overbay on with one out in the second, Shannon Stewart popped up and Alex Rios struck out.
Matt Stairs doubled in the fourth, hitting safely for the 12th time in 13 games.
Burnett retired six in a row early in the game but was cited for balks in both the third and fourth innings.
After yielding a double to Ross Gload in the fifth, Burnett threw a wild pitch to move the runner to third. Buck doubled down the right-field line for a 1-0 lead.
Overbay tied it for the Blue Jays in the top of the seventh, his first home run since August of last year.
Kansas City quickly regained a one-run lead. Eckstein was charged with a throwing error to first, which was followed by back-to-back singles by Tony Pena Jr. and De Jesus.
Consecutive singles by Aaron Hill and Alex Rios in the eighth gave Toronto a spark. Vernon Wells hit a grounder to shortstop that brought Hill home and Rios to third.
Stairs walked, with Rolen hitting his two-run double for a 4-2 lead.
Burnett recorded the first out in the bottom of the eighth, but allowed the next three batters to reach base, with Billy Butler's hit making the score 4-3.
After Eckstein's second gaffe led to a tie game, Buck hit a double down the third base line to bring Butler across.
De Jesus hit a grounder between second and first to bring in two more, with Alberto Callaspo's bloop single to centre scoring the final run.
Toronto's Shawn Marcum and Luke Hochevar of the Royals are the scheduled pitchers for Saturday's game.
With files from the Associated Press