KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jeff Francoeur drove in two runs, helping Luke Hochevar win for the first time in seven starts, and the Kansas City Royals survived Joakim Soria’s shaky ninth to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Thursday.
Soria, reclaiming the closer role he lost May 30 after back-to-back blown saves, loaded the bases in the ninth but got his eighth save in 13 opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion and pinch hitter Juan Rivera hit one-out singles off the two-time All-Star, then Mike McCoy, after being down 0-2, drew his fourth walk of the day to load the bases with two out. But Soria got Corey Patterson on an infield popup, giving the Royals their fifth win in 19 games.
Hochevar (4-6) allowed two runs in the fourth but nothing else in seven innings. The right-hander gave up six hits, walked three and struck out three for his first win in seven starts since May 1. He did not give up a home run for the fourth straight start after allowing 13 in his first 10 outings.
Ricky Romero (5-6) pitched an eight-inning complete game for Toronto, allowing three runs on eight hits, with two walks and four strikeouts.
Alcides Escobar singled in the third and scored the first run on rookie Eric Hosmer’s soft single into right. Hosmer has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
Melky Cabrera then reached on a fielder’s choice and Francoeur rifled a two-run single into right as the Royals completed a season-high 11-game homestand with a 4-7 record and kept the Blue Jays from winning a series in Kansas City for the first time since 2003.
Francoeur was out at the plate on a strong throw from Jose Bautista after Billy Butler singled into right.
In the Blue Jays’ second, Bautista reached on a fielder’s choice, Adam Lind singled and J.P. Arencibia tripled into left field. Mitch Maier made a leap for the ball, but it hit the wall and bounced back toward center field as Lind and Bautista scored.
Aaron Hill walked, but Hochevar retired Encarnacion on a fly ball to end the inning.
The Blue Jays had runners at second and third with two out in the eighth. but Aaron Crow coaxed a grounder out of Arencibia.
Lind was 3 for 4, all singles.
Delete - Merge UNOTES — Toronto’s Jose Bautista has reached safely in 52 of his 55 games. ... Maier started in left field and led off for the Royals for the first time this year. ... Royals have played 16 games in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. ... Mike Aviles was picked off first base in the second inning, thrown out by Romero.
Delete - Merge UpRoyals to call up 3B Moustakas from Triple-A
For three years Kansas City fans have waited to see Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, their heralded first-round picks of 2007 and ‘08, on the field together in Kauffman Stadium.
Now it’s about to happen. Hosmer’s been manning first base since he was called up from Triple-A Omaha on May 6 and has been the Royals’ best hitter. Now Moustakas, a native of Los Angeles, will make his major league debut on Friday night when the Royals open a three-game set against at the Angels.
The Royals will purchase his contract from Omaha and hand him third base.
“We’ll put Moose at third,” manager Ned Yost said when the move was announced following KC’s 3-2 victory over Toronto on Thursday afternoon. “Get his big league career started. He’s been hot, swinging the bat well, driving in runs, playing good third base. Time’s right.”
Moustakas was hitting .356 in his last 10 games. For the season at Omaha, he was hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.
The Royals also announced that struggling infielder Mike Aviles was going to Omaha.
Hosmer, who is hitting .309 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in just 32 games, was delighted at the news.
“I couldn’t be happier for him. I’m going to give him a call right now,” Hosmer said. “I’m really excited. One of my best friends in professional baseball. It’s going to be fun. We’ve been texting back and forth.”
Hosmer and Moustakas are the most anticipated prospects the Royals have had since Bo Jackson more than two decades ago.
Hosmer said he would have no advice for his friend.
“He doesn’t need no advice for me. He’s good enough,” he said. “He’s been through it all. He’s going to come up here and just be nice and relaxed. The first game will be exciting for him, in his home town. I’m sure all his family will be there. He’s going to come up here and hit his stride.”