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Blue Jays capitalize on erratic Royals pitches, win 4-1

July 5, 2012

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— When Luis Mendoza couldn’t keep his sinker down, the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage.

Carlos Villanueva pitched six shutout innings, Yunel Escobar drove in two runs and the Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-1, Wednesday night.

Three of Toronto’s four runs came on sacrifice flies, leaving Royals manager Ned Yost frustrated that Mendoza was unable to get ground balls.

“The only thing was he couldn’t get the ball down in crucial situations,” Yost said. “All three runs came on sac flies on pitches that were up.”

Every Blue Jays starter had at least one hit as Toronto won for the fourth time in six games. The Blue Jays are 6-1 against Kansas City this season and have won nine of the past 12 meetings dating to 2011.

Jeff Francoeur’s RBI triple in the seventh provided the only run of the game for the Royals, who have lost five of six.

“You give (Villanueva) credit for doing what he did but our offense just didn’t do it today,” Kansas City’s Alex Gordon said.

Toronto opened the scoring in the second when Rajai Davis tripled and scored on Kelly Johnson’s sacrifice fly.

The Blue Jays added two more in the third. Edwin Encarnacion led off with a ground ball to second and was safe when Mendoza and Eric Hosmer got tangled up at first, with Mendoza catching the throw by failing to step on the base.

“I was kind of late getting over to the bag,” Hosmer said. “Me and Mendy kind of called it at the same time. I think I just broke too late and probably should have let Mendy take care of that right there.”

Yost saw it differently from the dugout.

“Mendoza has got to get out of the way,” Yost said. “I could hear (Hosmer) screaming ‘I got it, I got it,’ and if I can hear him, Mendy’s just got to put on the brakes as best he can and let Hos take the play.”

Adam Lind followed with a double, sending Encarnacion to third, before Escobar and Davis hit back-to-back sacrifice flies.

Escobar added an insurance run in the eighth with a two-out RBI single off Kelvin Herrera.

Coming off a win over Minnesota in his last start, Royals right-hander Luis Mendoza (3-5) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out a career-high nine.

Notes: Kansas City recalled RHP Nate Adcock and RHP Louis Coleman from Triple-A Omaha and designated OF Mitch Maier for assignment. ... Royals DH Billy Butler went 0 for 3. Butler is 0 for 23 against Toronto this season.

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