TORONTO (AP) — Brett Lawrie hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning, Jose Bautista added his major league-leading 37th homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Jesse Litsch (5-3) pitched one scoreless inning of relief for the win. Frank Francisco worked ninth for his 11th save.
Melky Cabrera walked to begin the ninth and, after Billy Butler lined out, stole second. Francisco struck out Eric Hosmer and ended it by getting Jeff Francoeur to line out to right.
Louis Coleman (1-3) took the loss for the Royals, who have not won consecutive games since Aug. 3-4. Kansas City has won four of its past 16.
Lawrie broke a 3-3 tie with a leadoff blast to left in the seventh, his fourth. The rookie third baseman also hit an RBI triple in the fourth.
Toronto’s Ricky Romero came in with a 5-0 record and 0.89 ERA since July 27, tied for the most wins in the majors while compiling the best ERA in that span. But the left-hander wasn’t as sharp against Kansas City, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings. That was as many earned runs as he had allowed in his previous three starts combined. Romero walked four and struck out three.
Romero hit Alex Gordon to begin the first and the Royals outfielder stole second before scoring on Butler’s double.
Gordon walked to open the third, moved to second on a grounder and came home on Butler’s RBI single.
Toronto scored three runs in the fourth. Yunel Escobar was hit by a pitch from right-hander Luke Hochevar and Bautista responded to a brushback by hitting a towering home run off the facing of the third deck in left.
One out later, Edwin Encarnacion singled and then scored on Lawrie’s triple to left-center.
Kansas City tied it when Gordon led off the fifth with a homer to right, his career-high 17th.
Like Romero, Hochevar didn’t figure in the decision, allowing three runs and four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
NOTES — With OF Colby Rasmus sidelined by a sore right wrist, Toronto recalled OF Darin Mastroianni from Triple-A Las Vegas and then he made his major league debut in CF. He went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice. ... 2B Kelly Johnson, acquired in Tuesday’s trade with Arizona, did not join the Blue Jays on Wednesday. He is expected to arrive in time to start Thursday. ... Kansas City LHP Jeff Francis (4-14) faces Toronto LHP Brett Cecil (4-6) in Thursday’s series finale.