video thumbnail

Bautista smacks a two-run shot to left field

KANSAS CITY -- Boomstick. Broomstick. They're the same thing to Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays.

Bautista launched a two-run homer -- his third of the year -- to send the Blue Jays to a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night, completing a sweep at Kauffman Stadium.

The four-game sweep is the first for Toronto in Kansas City, and it's the first for the Blue Jays since May 18, 2009, when they took four of four from the White Sox at Rogers Centre.

Bautista had only hit two home runs coming into Monday's game, and he was hitting just .212. But, he added a big hit to propel Toronto to the win. After Kelly Johnson walked to lead off the sixth, Bautista launched the first pitch he saw from Bruce Chen into the Royals' bullpen in left field, giving the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.

"This is a young season. This guy's going to do it over and over for us," Johnson said. "Nice to see it, and I think as he gets going, gets some confidence going, we're going to do the same, and we're going to be playing some good baseball."

Johnson had a highlight-filled evening. He homered in the top of the first to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. Then he made a spectacular defensive play to end the second inning. With a man at third and two outs, Mitch Maier hit a slow bouncer between Johnson and Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow. Maier hustled down the first-base line, and it looked like no fielder would reach the ball in time. But Johnson gloved the ball and flipped it from his glove to first baseman Adam Lind for the out.

"It was great for him to come in full speed like that and make an accurate flip. That's hard to do," Morrow said. "He made a great play. I mixed pitches, but you don't get out of those jams without great defensive plays behind you. ... Obviously, Kelly's great glove flip there saved a run."

Johnson walked twice on the night, and he walked a total of seven times in the three games he played in during the series.

"Kelly does a very good job of getting on base," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "You might look at the batting average and say, 'Is he a productive player?' He is. We'll live some strikeouts, but he has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, which was evident in the first inning. And the defense that he showed throughout this series -- three of the four games in which he played -- he's really solidified the middle of our infield."

The Royals tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the second inning on an Eric Hosmer home run. The Blue Jays grabbed the lead back on Bautista's big fly, and they added another run on a Rajai Davis RBI single in the top of the ninth. Brett Lawrie came in to score after tripling to lead off the inning, making the score 4-1.

Morrow picked up the win, his first of the season. He was hit hard and found himself in several jams, but he escaped every time. The Royals, who stranded men at third base four times, were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

"There were guys on the whole time," Morrow said. "That's why I worked on those offspeed pitches in Spring Training. They were huge for me tonight. I had good command of them, got ahead with some guys and then kept them off balance."

The Blue Jays received more good work out of their bullpen to lock down the closing innings Monday. Morrow exited with two outs in the seventh, and he turned the ball over to Luis Perez, who pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings. Perez has not allowed a run in 11 1/3 innings pitched this season.

"What can you say about Luis Perez?" Farrell said. "He continues to be powerful, throw strikes. Righties, lefties -- he's doing an outstanding job."

Francisco Cordero came on in the ninth, allowed no runs and picked up his second save in as many days.

Monday's win closed out a terrific series for Toronto. The four-game road sweep was the Jays' first since May 25, 2003, in New York against the Yankees.

"The pitching was just phenomenal. It kept us in the game," Johnson said. "Sometimes we were down, or we lost a lead and we had to come back and we did, but every time they stepped up when we needed them."

The Royals, on the other hand, lost their 11th straight game and 10th straight at home. The 11-game losing streak is tied for the fifth longest in franchise history.

"These 10 or 11 games have felt like a lifetime. I'm not going to lie to you," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's felt like three summers, this homestand alone. But you can't get caught up in 10 or 11 over the course of a 162-game season." Comments