Royals Hold Off Blue Jays 9-6, Split Series

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TORONTO — They made it interesting, but the Kansas City Royals ultimately held on for a 9-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, splitting the four-game series at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Blue Jays swept a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium back in April, in the midst of the Royals’ infamous 12-game losing streak. They finish the season series with a 6-2 record against Kansas City.

Designated hitter Billy Butler broke an 0-24 hitless streak against the Jays with an infield RBI single in the third inning.

Starter Luke Hochevar got the win, despite leaving the game with an apparent right ankle injury. In 5 innings, Hochevar (6-8, 5.14 ERA) gave up two runs on four hits, striking out three and walking one.

Starter Henderson Alvarez (5-7, 4.36 ERA) earned the loss.

Kansas City (37-44, 23-21 away) scored five runs in the third to build a 5-0 lead, before a two-run home run by Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia made it 5-2. Arencibia went yard again in the seventh inning off reliever Tim Collins (3.38 ERA), a solo shot that cut the deficit to 5-3.

After extending their lead to 8-3 with a three-run eighth inning, the Royals almost let it slip away. Toronto (42-41, 23-19 home) answered with a three-run rally of their own. Pinch-hitter Ben Francisco smashed a two-run RBI triple that narrowed the gap to 8-6.

Second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt drilled a solo HR in the ninth to give the Royals some extra breathing room.

Closer Jonathan Broxton (1.99 ERA) earned his 21st save after third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer teamed up for a game-ending double-play.

Along with flashing some serious leather, Hosmer would finish the game with three RBI’s. Kansas City collected a season-high 16 hits in Thursday’s win.

The Royals continue their road trip on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.

Left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (1-4, 6.80 ERA) takes the hill against Tigers LHP Drew Smyly (3-3, 4.54 ERA) for game one of three at Comerica Park.

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