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Blue Jays derailed by balk in loss to Royals

Gaviglio labors in pivotal 3-run 4th to extend winless streak
Special to MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- There were encouraging early signs that Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio might be on his way toward getting his first victory since May 25. But after a bizarre balk sequence in the fourth inning, nothing much went right for the right-hander.

Instead the Royals used a three-run rally in the fourth as a springboard to a 6-2 victory on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. That meant Gaviglio's winless streak reached 15 starts, which tied Ricky Romero for the second-longest streak in club history.

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KANSAS CITY -- There were encouraging early signs that Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio might be on his way toward getting his first victory since May 25. But after a bizarre balk sequence in the fourth inning, nothing much went right for the right-hander.

Instead the Royals used a three-run rally in the fourth as a springboard to a 6-2 victory on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium. That meant Gaviglio's winless streak reached 15 starts, which tied Ricky Romero for the second-longest streak in club history.

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"It was a tough night," manager John Gibbons said of Gaviglio's outing. "He has been getting hit around a little bit lately, primarily because pitches are up in the zone. That's not his style. You can't do that."

It was all going according to plan for Gaviglio as he held a 2-1 lead in the fourth with two out and none on. But Rosell Herrera singled to right and that's where the positives began to dissipate for Gaviglio.

Video: TOR@KC: Gaviglio balks, Herrera advances

On a rainy night that prompted a delay of 2 hours, 14 minutes at the outset, Gaviglio attempted to keep Herrera close by throwing to first. But the ball slipped out of his hand as he was in his throwing motion and Herrera was awarded second on a balk call.

Gibbons came out for a clarification and the umpires eventually called for a rules check. They received verification that when a pitcher fails to complete a throw to first it is by definition a balk.

Gaviglio had to stand around and wait for the play to be sorted out and then promptly surrendered three consecutive scoring hits. An RBI triple by Jorge Bonifacio tied the game at 2 and Ryan O'Hearn put the Royals ahead with an RBI single. A run-scoring double by Hunter Dozier completed the two-out uprising.

Gaviglio refused to use the delay as an excuse for how his fourth inning unraveled.

"No, I don't think so," Gaviglio said. "I think I just got a little elevated. Two quick outs [in the fourth]. I need to get through that. I just made a few mistakes and they took advantage of it."

Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman, making his first Major League start in place of the injured Danny Duffy, allowed two runs on four hits through four innings before the Kansas City bullpen took over. Gaviglio went 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs.

JANSEN IMPRESSES
In his third Major League start, catcher Danny Jansen went 1-for-3 with an RBI as he lifted his batting average to .400 (4-for-10).

Jansen gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the second with his sacrifice fly to right.

Video: TOR@KC: Jansen plates Hernandez with a sacrifice fly

"Good piece of hitting," Gibbons said. "Two strikes and he shot that ball to right field for a sacrifice fly. He has handled himself like a champ."

SOUND SMART
With his outfield assist in the second inning, left fielder Teoscar Hernandez is only one behind the Major League leaders.

Video: TOR@KC: Hernandez throws out Bonifacio at second

Hernandez threw out Bonifacio as Bonifacio tried to stretch a single into a double. It was the ninth outfield assist for Hernandez this season.

UP NEXT
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-8, 5.03 ERA) gets the ball for the opener of a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at Yankee Stadium. Stroman allowed one run on five hits over five innings in a no-decision against the Rays in his last time out on Sunday. The Yanks will go with righty Lance Lynn (8-8, 4.46 ERA), who has been highly effective since coming over from the Twins. He allowed just one run over his first 16 2/3 innings with New York.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Toronto Blue Jays, Sam Gaviglio