Kansas City, Mo. Ervin Santana kept the Kansas City Royals in the game, wiggling out of every jam that the Toronto Blue Jays created. Alex Gordon made all the work pay off.
The hot-hitting Gordon drove home Chris Getz with a single in the ninth inning, and the Royals beat the Blue Jays, 3-2, on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
“Erv gave us a chance and we just persevered at the end,” said Gordon, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a pair of base hits. “It felt good.”
Santana pitched eight sharp innings, and Kelvin Herrera (1-0) kept the Blue Jays off the board in the ninth. Toronto brought in Darren Oliver to face three straight left-handed hitters, even though left-handed bats have been 5-for-8 against the reliever this season.
Oliver (0-1) retired Jarrod Dyson to start the ninth, but Getz doubled to right to bring up Gordon, whose single allowed Getz to slide home easily in front of the tag.
“To get a win like that, a walkoff, it’s a nice boost of energy,” Getz said. “You don’t want to get swept, so to scratch out a game like that is nice.”
Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain also drove in runs for Kansas City.
Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in both runs for the Blue Jays, who had won six straight and eight of 10 against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. That included a four-game sweep in their only series in Kansas City last season.
“They’re scrappy. They battle you,” Jays manager John Gibbons said. “The thing that stands out is their defense. They take away hits. In tight ball games, that makes a difference.”
Toronto’s Brandon Morrow allowed just the two runs in six innings, at one point retiring eight straight batters. He struck out three and only issued an intentional watch.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” he said, “but I made a lot of good pitches and kept us in it.”
So did Santana, who put the leadoff runner aboard in the second and third innings but got some help from a pair of inning-ending double-plays. Santana also left two stranded in the fifth, thanks to a nice play by Dyson of tracking down Emilio Bonifacio’s fly in center.
That gave Getz and Gordon a shot to win the game.
“I have confidence in my offense,” Santana said. “We have a lot of young talent. I know they can get the job done.”