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Francis leads Royals over Blue Jays

POSTED August 26, 2011 3:28 a.m.

TORONTO (AP) — Jeff Francis made his first start back home in Canada one to remember.

 

Francis pitched six-plus innings to win for the first time since July 29, Melky Cabrera homered and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-6 on Thursday night.

 

"Francis pitched great," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He came back to his home country and really did a nice job of keeping them off balance. He worked down good tonight, really changed speeds well."

 

Francis (5-14) came in 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in his past four outings but was solid in his first career start north of the border. The left-hander, born in Vancouver, British Columbia, improved to 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

 

"It was nice to come out and throw some zeros up early in the game," Francis said. "It was a good day."

 

J.P. Arencibia and Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Blue Jays, but Toronto lost for the fourth time in six games.

 

Blue Jays manager John Farrell wasn't around for the finish. He left the dugout in the bottom of the ninth and went to a hospital with muscle pains on his left side, below his rib cage.

 

Hours later, the Blue Jays released a statement saying the 49-year-old Farrell was diagnosed with pneumonia and released from the hospital. He was expected to rejoin the team Friday.

 

"About the eighth inning, I just knew he was moving around a little funny and I asked him," bench coach Don Wakamatsu said. "He said, 'I'm struggling a little bit with my side.' It's more of a muscle spasm. We took him in to get checked and everything seems to be fine."

 

The Blue Jays managed just three hits against Francis over the first six innings before chasing him in the seventh. Kelly Johnson led off with a single and Arencibia followed with a two-run drive to left, his 20th. Francis left after Mike McCoy followed with a single.

 

Greg Holland came on and got Yunel Escobar to ground into a force before fanning Eric Thames and Jose Bautista.

 

Holland pitched two innings and Joakim Soria gave up Encarnacion's 13th homer, a two-run shot in the ninth.

 

Francis, who won just one of his previous nine decisions, gave up two runs and six hits. He walked three, one intentional, and struck out five.

 

"I know he's real excited," Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "He had about 15 or 16 family members here tonight. It means a lot. It's like any time I go back to Atlanta, where I'm from, it's a big deal. I couldn't be happier for him. He did a great job for us tonight and gave us a huge two out of three up here against a tough team."

 

Francis' brother and niece came down from Montreal, while several former teammates from the University of British Columbia and members of his wife's family who live in Ontario also attended the game.

 

Billy Butler went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and scored twice as the Royals won their first series since taking two of three against Baltimore from Aug. 2-4. It was Kansas City's first series victory in Toronto since August 2002.

 

Butler doubled and scored in the fourth, singled in both the sixth and seventh and doubled home a pair of runs off reliever Shawn Camp in the eighth. He went 8 for 15 with five extra-base hits to help the Royals win twice in the three-game series.

 

"He's as good a hitter as there is in the American League," an appreciative Francis said. "It's the kind of bat that can carry a team."

 

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez led off the third with a double and scored on a two-out base hit by Johnny Giavotella. Butler doubled to begin the fourth and scored on a two-out single from Mike Moustakas.

 

The Royals got two more in the sixth. Cabrera doubled, moved to third on Butler's single and scored on a base hit by Francoeur. After Moustakas grounded into a fielder's choice, Perez drove in Butler with a base hit to center.

 

Cabrera chased Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil with a one-out homer to left in the seventh, his 17th.

 

Cecil (4-7) lost his third straight decision, allowing five runs and nine in 6 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

 

Arencibia's homer in the seventh cut it to 5-2 but Butler's two-run double in the eighth restored Kansas City's five-run lead.

 

Brett Lawrie hit an RBI triple off Holland in the bottom half and Arencibia added a sacrifice fly, but the Royals answered in the ninth when Moustakas hit an RBI double off Rommie Lewis and Mitch Maier added a sacrifice fly off Jesse Litsch.

 

Johnson, acquired Tuesday from Arizona, made his Toronto debut. Batting in the seventh spot, he went 1 for 2 with two walks. He also threw out Maier trying to score from third on a grounder in the eighth.

 

Francoeur left in the ninth after he was hit on the right calf by a pitch. He stayed in the game and ran the bases before being replaced.

 

 


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