TORONTO -- The Royals grabbed an early lead with back-to-back home runs, but starter Eric Skoglund and the bullpen couldn't hold it, as they dropped an 11-3 decision to the Blue Jays on Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader at Rogers Centre.Mike Moustakas was the first to go deep
TORONTO -- The Royals grabbed an early lead with back-to-back home runs, but starter Eric Skoglund and the bullpen couldn't hold it, as they dropped an 11-3 decision to the Blue Jays on Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader at Rogers Centre.
Mike Moustakas was the first to go deep in the third inning and Lucas Duda followed suit with a rocket to right field just five pitches later. That was the fourth home run of the season for Moustakas and the third for Duda.
"Both of those guys have the ability any time they step in that box to put the ball out of the ballpark, too," manager Ned Yost said. "They both had a good day offensively."
Skoglund had settled into a groove in those early innings before the Blue Jays got to him for three runs in the fifth to regain the lead. The big left-hander was lifted after five innings and 77 pitches.
Skoglund allowed five earned runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. The one early blow that he allowed was a two-run home run to Yangervis Solarte in the first, which traveled a projected 416 feet, according to Statcast™.
"They had good approaches that second half," Skoglund said. "That last inning, they just took it where it was pitched and executed on what they had to do."
Blaine Boyer took over in the sixth inning and quickly allowed the Blue Jays to tack on some insurance runs. After Kevin Pillar reached on an error and Aledmys Diaz singled, Randal Grichuk launched a three-run home run to left field to extend Toronto's lead to 8-3.
"He's struggling," Yost said. "It's mostly location. He gets ahead, then the pitch that they hit for the three-run homer wasn't a horrible pitch, it just had too much plate."
Boyer then loaded the bases before being pulled for Burch Smith. He allowed six runs in total, but only two of those were earned.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals had an opportunity to open up a lead early in the game with the bases loaded and none out, but they only managed to push one run across. Duda, Jorge Soler and Cheslor Cuthbert all singled to open the second inning, but Paulo Orlando grounded into a double play that snuffed out the momentum, despite Duda scoring on the play. Blue Jays starter Jaime Garcia then got Cam Gallagher to ground out to end the inning.
Duda's home run in the third inning left his bat at 114.1 mph, according to Statcast™, which matched his hardest-hit home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Later in the game, Grichuk's home run left his bat at the same speed (114.1 mph) and was his and the Blue Jays' hardest-hit home run, topping a 113.5-mph homer hit by Josh Donaldson on Sept. 17, 2017.
HE SAID IT
"The only stuff I have for this kind of weather is camouflage." -- Yost, on the troubles of travelling to Toronto, where freezing rain continues to delay the arrival of spring weather
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
For a moment, it looked like Gallagher would be the latest to be featured on a defensive highlight reel for Kevin Pillar. Gallagher drove a ball deep to right-center in the fifth inning that Pillar initially caught on the run and then bobbled. It appeared that he secured the ball and Gallagher was called out, but after a review, the umpires determined the ball had hit the wall and Gallagher was awarded a double.
Left-hander Danny Duffy starts the nightcap of the doubleheader. After allowing three home runs in a difficult season debut, Duffy looked better in his next two starts -- giving up just one earned run over 5 1/3 innings his last time out against the Mariners.
Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.