Mark Buehrle throws 7 stellar innings in Blue Jays' win over Royals
Encarnacion, Valencia go deep to pace offence
All the Toronto Blue Jays needed to break out of a skid was an impressive outing by Mark Buehrle and two big swings.
Buehrle pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer and the visiting Blue Jays beat Kansas City 6-2 Saturday to snap the Royals' six-game winning streak.
Buehrle (10-5) limited the Royals to two runs and five hits while improving to 4-0 with a 1.24 earned-run average in his past four starts against them. It was Buehrle's 26th victory over the Royals. Only Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven (34) has more wins against the Royals.
"He continues to roll, on a tough day to pitch," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was hot out there. The offence came to life. We do what we do with a couple of home runs; that was the difference there. Buehrle was really good. They put a run up early and he kicked it up a notch."
Encarnacion's 18th home run in the fourth inning off Chris Young ended the Blue Jays' 27-inning scoring drought.
"If the pitch was executed a little bit better, it might have been a pop up," Young said. "The next at-bat I threw a better slider and he popped it up. It was a mistake. I didn't make too many mistakes today. It's a bad feeling as a pitcher, letting the team down with one pitch. I felt like I executed most of my pitches to give us a chance, but again Buehrle was just better today."
Toronto led 3-2 in the ninth when Danny Valencia, traded by the Royals to the Blue Jays last July 28, hit a three-run homer off rookie Brandon Finnegan to extend the advantage.
"Obviously I played here last year, but we needed a win and I wanted to help the team," Valencia said.
Jose Reyes had three hits, stole three bases, walked, scored a run and drove in a run for the Blue Jays.
Young (7-5), working on three days' rest, gave up three runs and five hits with two walks in six-plus innings. He left after giving up a single to Kevin Pillar to open the inning.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first as Alcides Escobar doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Kendrys Morales' grounder. It gave Morales 10 RBIs in his past 11 games, and 57 on the season.
The Royals had Alex Rios at third and Omar Infante at second with one out in the second, but Buehrle held them there by striking out Drew Butera and getting Jarrod Dyson on a ground out.
Encarnacion's homer in the fourth gave the Blue Jays the lead for good, and Reyes had a run-scoring infield single in seventh to make it 3-1.
Rios led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, moved to third on a fly ball to center and scored on Paulo Orlando's grounder to pull the Royals within a run again.
Buehrle has won 10 or more games in 15 straight seasons, the longest active streak in the majors. "That's what he does," Gibbons said. "I hate to see him retire because he doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down." Buehrle is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his past nine starts.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson left in the sixth inning after three at-bats with flu-like symptoms. He was replaced by Valencia.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen (rehabbing from 2014 reconstructive elbow surgery) allowed three runs, all on solo home runs, in a start Friday for triple-A Omaha against Iowa. He walked none and struck out seven, throwing 62 strikes in 89 pitches.
Blue Jays: LHP Felix Doubront will make his second start after beating the White Sox on Tuesday, allowing one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez is 0-3 in four career starts against Toronto, allowing 19 earned runs over 19 1/3 innings.