KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano won the 100th game of his career, and the Blue Jays scored five runs in the sixth inning to beat the Royals, 8-2, on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.Liriano limited a Royals club that had won 11 of its last 13 games to two
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano won the 100th game of his career, and the Blue Jays scored five runs in the sixth inning to beat the Royals, 8-2, on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Liriano limited a Royals club that had won 11 of its last 13 games to two runs over six innings as he recorded his third quality start of the season. Toronto's offense supported his start, collecting 11 hits and seven walks to build a sizeable lead. The Blue Jays' win snapped a three-game skid and prevented a sweep.
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel threw 105 pitches over five innings. He held the Blue Jays scoreless until Jose Bautista hit a two-run home run that tied the game in the fifth inning.
The Royals, who expressed displeasure in home-plate umpire John Tumpane's strike zone, used six relievers to finish the game, including three in the sixth inning when the Blue Jays capitalized on three walks and an error to score five runs.
"I felt like we made a lot of good pitches and didn't really get the strikes," Hammel said. "For whatever reason, they were able to be on them when we made a mistake."
The Blue Jays were stuck in neutral until getting a jolt from Bautista, who finished with four RBIs. It was his top-RBI effort since he had four on Apr. 9, 2016 versus Boston.
"He has been one of the all-time (Blue Jays) greats," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "I've seen him at his best."
Liriano became the 13th Dominican-born pitcher to record 100 wins in the Majors.
"The stuff was good," Gibbons said. "The fastball looks like it has a little more jump than earlier in the year and he's always got that good slider that he can throw for a strike when he needs one."
Roberto Osuna came on in the ninth inning and struck out three of the four batters he faced.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bautista's big shot: Bautista gave the Blue Jays a huge lift in the fifth with his mammoth two-run homer that made it 2-2. After having dropped two frustrating one-run decisions and stranding seven runners through four innings Sunday, the Jays saw Bautista get the green light on a 3-0 Hammel offering and drill his 450-foot homer. It was his third longest home run recorded since Statcast™ began in 2015 and the longest for Bautista this season.
Gibbons has no qualms about having Bautista swinging 3-0 because of Bautista's eye at the plate.
"He has one of the best in baseball and has for years," Gibbons said.
Costly error: After the Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when the first four batters of the inning reached base, right-hander Peter Moylan induced a groundball to third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert. With the option to throw home or possibly turn a double-play, Cuthbert dropped the ball. His throw to first pulled Eric Hosmer off the bag and Russell Martin reached there safely.
One run scored on the play. Josh Donaldson then hit a double to right, scoring two and giving the Blue Jays a 6-2 lead.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
Trailing 8-2 in the eighth inning with Lorenzo Cain on second and two outs, Eric Hosmer hit a ball into center field. As the Blue Jays took their time getting to the ball, Hosmer tried to stretch the hit into a double. Cain didn't cross the plate beforehand, and Hosmer was called out at second base. After a review that lasted two minutes, 27 seconds, the call stood.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Joe Biagini (2-6, 4.45 ERA) gets the call Tuesday in the opener of the Baltimore series at 7:07 p.m. ET. Biagini has started nine games and three of those nine have been quality starts. The Jays are 4-5 when Biagini takes the mound.
Royals: Following an off-day on Monday, the Royals will begin a three-game series in Detroit on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Left-hander Matt Strahm will make his third start of the season. He allowed five runs in three innings his last time out.
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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.