KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mark Buehrle pitched into the seventh inning, Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus each went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 7-3 Thursday night to avoid a series sweep.
Francisco and Rasmus each drove in a pair of runs for Toronto, as did Anthony Gose, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to start in place of injured outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Buehrle (5-1) worked through plenty of trouble to last 6 2-3 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. It was a solid bounce-back performance after the left-hander was hammered for seven runs last Friday night against Boston.
Aaron Loup pitched 2 1-3 shutout innings for his third career save.
The Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie (2-2) left trailing 4-3 after six innings, but his bullpen was unable to keep it close as their three-game win streak came to an end.
Billy Butler drove in a pair of runs for Kansas City, which still hasn’t swept the Blue Jays in a series of at least three games since July 1993.
The teams traded blows most of the way.
Toronto struck first when Chris Getz singled in the first inning and then swiped bases all the way to third, where Edwin Encarnacion drove him in with a fielder’s choice.
Kansas City answered in the second when Justin Maxwell walked and Alcides Escobar singled to right. Jose Bautista flubbed the pickup, allowing Maxwell to score easily.
The Royals pulled ahead in the third on Butler’s single, though they squandered another scoring opportunity when Eric Hosmer was thrown out at home for the second straight night.
The Blue Jays regained the lead the next half inning when Francisco, who had two homers in three at-bats off Guthrie last season, hit a two-run shot over the bullpen in right field. But the Royals answered again on Butler’s two-out double to left in the bottom of the fifth.
The Royals kept shifting dramatically to deal with the Blue Jays’ left-handed power hitters, but it didn’t matter when Rasmus came to bat in the sixth. He powered a 1-2 pitch right over the defense for a two-out homer that gave Toronto a 4-3 lead.
Guthrie finished off the inning, but was lifted after allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks in just six innings. His bumpy night stood in stark contrast to his last four outings against the Blue Jays, when he went 1-0 with a 1.44 ERA.