Blue Jays walk off Royals in extras to sweep rare doubleheader at Rogers Centre
Toronto clobbers Kansas in opening game before edging guests in extra inning
Luke Maile's offensive game has benefited from added playing time this season and it showed as the Blue Jays catcher drove in the game-winning run in Toronto's 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals, the second half of a doubleheader on Tuesday.
"With [Russell Martin] on that two days on, one day off — it's got to help him," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "He's using the whole field, he's shooting balls the other way, couple today.
"That's big for him 'cause he does everything great behind the plate, and now he's not only getting hits, he's getting big hits."
The Blue Jays defeated the Royals 11-3 in the first game. It was the third time in franchise history the Blue Jays played host to a doubleheader at the Rogers Centre. Toronto won both contests on July 17, 1989 against the Angels and took two from the Cleveland Indians on Oct. 5, 2001.
A doubleheader was necessary after large chunks of ice had fallen off the nearby CN Tower and damaged the dome at Rogers Centre on Monday. The game was postponed for safety reasons.
Toronto (11-5) has now won three straight and six of seven while Kansas City (3-12) has lost seven straight.
Tyler Clippard (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th inning for his 50th career win. Bryan Flynn (0-1) was saddled with the loss.
'I didn't change nothing'
Trailing 3-0, Toronto finally got on the board when Kansas City turned to its bullpen in the seventh. Justin Grimm took over from starter Danny Duffy and promptly walked the bases loaded. With Brad Keller on in relief of Grimm, Maile singled home a pair of runs. Devon Travis's RBI single tied the game 3-3 and Steve Pearce drove in Maile for the go-ahead run.
With the seventh inning single, Maile has matched his personal best hitting streak of five games. The 27-year-old has seven RBI through his first five games of the season and dating back to last season has gone 15-for-40 over his last 13 games with six doubles and nine RBIs.
"I didn't change nothing," said Maile of his recent success. "I'm just trying to get good pitches to hit. I think the biggest thing is I'm just swinging at strikes. Last year, it wasn't so much a swing thing as it was a plate discipline thing. Swinging at strikes is probably reason No. 1."
Alcides Escobar tied it 4-4 with a solo home run off Ryan Tepera in the eighth.
In the 10th, Maile singled to shallow right, driving in Kevin Pillar for the final score.
The Royals opened the scoring in the first when Joe Biagini hit Lucas Duda with the bases loaded. Kansas City doubled its lead in the third on a Mike Moustakas RBI double and Abraham Almonte gave the Royals a 3-0 on a solo home run in the sixth.
Biagini (0-0), who last started for triple-A Buffalo on April 9, allowed three earned runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings while throwing a career-high 106 pitches.
Earlier in the day, Randal Grichuk hit a three-run homer as part of a six-run sixth inning and Jaime Garcia (2-0) went five innings surrendering three runs on five hits as the Blue Jays thumped the Royals 11-3 in the first game.
Pitching on eight days rest, Garcia admitted he struggled Tuesday afternoon.
"No excuses," he said. "It wasn't my best stuff. I really wasn't sharp at all, but at the same time it doesn't take away from my competitiveness and trying to get people out."
Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run in the first to give the Blue Jays an early 2-0 lead and finished the first game 2-for-3 with four runs-batted in.
Moustakas and Duda each hit solo home runs for the Royals while Eric Skoglund (1-1) took the loss. Paulo Orlando brought Kansas City's first run home scoring Dudas on a ground out.