KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays had not turned a triple play in 33 years and the Kansas City Royals hadn’t hit into one since that same season.
Both streaks ended Friday night before Jose Bautista singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lift Toronto over Kansas City 4-3, handing the slumping Royals their eighth straight defeat.
Kansas City had runners on first and second in the third inning when Eric Hosmer lined out to first baseman Adam Lind, who stepped on the bag to double off Yuniesky Betancourt. Lind then fired to shortstop Yunel Escobar to retire Alex Gordon, who had strayed off second.
It was Toronto’s first triple play since Sept. 21, 1979, against the New York Yankees. Al Cowens was the previous Royals batter to hit into a triple play on June 19, 1979, against Oakland.
“It’s the first one I’ve ever seen in person,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “You don’t try to make a pitch to get a triple play, but fortunately Hosmer squares the ball up. It looks like a sinking line drive so you can see where the baserunners are going to extend their secondary leads. We caught a break there. It was a quick one for sure.
“In 11 pitches, we go from runners being on first and second to being out of the inning. It kept his pitch count a little more manageable.”
Toronto starter Kyle Drabek left after walking six in 5 1-3 innings and throwing only 49 strikes in 100 pitches. He allowed two runs, one on a wild pitch, and gave up four hits, but the triple play allowed him to go deeper into the game.
“That’s the first one I’ve ever seen,” Drabek said. “It was real fun for me to see, especially having those two guys on. I had no idea when he caught it what was about to happen.”
Lind snagged the ball just before it hit the ground.
“As soon as I caught it, I knew it was there, just touch first and throw to second,” he said. “Both baserunners were way off the bag. There really wasn’t much to think about. It was so fast and it was over. It goes from being in a jam until all of a sudden we’re hitting. It’s special, a pitcher’s best friend. Let’s hope it’s not 33 more years.”
For the Royals, it was just another way to lose.
“That’s kind of the way things are going for us right now,” Hosmer said. “It’s been that way the last couple of weeks. It was a big situation, first and second. It was one tough break. It’s the first in my lifetime. He threw a fastball in. I saw it good and put a good swing on it. It’s obviously not the result we wanted.”
The Royals took a 2-1 lead into the eighth when Greg Holland, the fourth Kansas City pitcher, threw only seven strikes in 22 pitches. He gave up three runs on three hits, two walks and a balk without retiring a batter.
Colby Rasmus led off the inning with a double. J.P. Arencibia, who was hitting .132, delivered an RBI single.
Holland (0-2) walked Escobar and Kelly Johnson on eight pitches to load the bases, and Bautista’s sharp single to right scored pinch-runner Rajai Davis. Edwin Encarnacion’s sacrifice fly scored Johnson to make it 4-2.
The Royals’ losing streak is their longest since dropping 10 straight from July 10-24, 2010.
Drabek’s wild pitch with two outs in the fourth allowed Jeff Francoeur to score, putting Kansas City up 2-0. Mike Moustakas homered in the second for the first Kansas City run.
Luis Perez (2-0) replaced Drabek and worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Sergio Santos got his second save in four tries, but allowed a RBI single to Betancourt.
Royals starter Luke Hochevar, working on six days’ rest, allowed one run and two hits in five innings before being pulled after 84 pitches. Eric Thames scored in the fifth on Arencibia’s single for the only run off Hochevar.