KANSAS CITY -- Edwin Encarnacion brought the Blue Jays out of a 27-inning scoreless drought with a two-run homer in the fourth inning, and Mark Buehrle pitched seven solid innings to lift Toronto to a 6-2 victory over the Royals on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
Encarnacion's 18th homer of the season gave Toronto a 2-1 lead, and the Blue Jays went up, 3-1, in the seventh on an RBI infield hit by Jose Reyes. The Royals cut the deficit to one on an RBI groundout by Paulo Orlando in the seventh. But the Blue Jays managed to hold tight through the eighth behind Bo Schultz, and then used a three-run homer by Danny Valencia in the ninth off Brandon Finnegan to break the game open.
Toronto (45-45) snapped a three-game losing streak, while Kansas City (51-34) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end.
Chris Young worked six-plus innings for the Royals, allowing five hits and three runs. Buehrle departed after surrendering two runs on five hits through seven frames. Buehrle improved to 10-5 heading into the All-Star break.
Buehrle has now reached double figures in wins in 15 consecutive seasons.
"Mark continues to roll," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was a tough day to pitch, [it was] really hot out there."
The heat and humidity prompted Gibbons to lift Buehrle after the left-hander threw just 85 pitches.
Toronto's two-homer game was a welcome sight for Gibbons, after consecutive shutout losses.
"We did what we do," Gibbons said. "A couple of homers, and that was the difference."
Young nearly matched Buehrle, but it wasn't enough to keep Kansas City's winning streak intact.
"I thought Chris threw the ball great; one pitch, it wasn't really a horrible pitch," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Encarnacion, [Josh] Donaldson, [Jose] Bautista, Valencia ... those guys, if they can get their hands extended, they can hit the ball a long way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Key strikeout: Buehrle doesn't usually live on strikeouts, but he got a big one in the second inning after the Royals had jumped on top, 1-0. With runners at second and third with one out in the second, Buehrle kept his team close by striking out Drew Butera and getting Jarrod Dyson to tap back to the mound before he threw to first for the final out.
"He gave up a run early, but then he just kicked it into gear," Gibbons said of Buehrle. More >
Donaldson leaves early: Donaldson, Toronto's All-Star third baseman, left Saturday's 6-2 win over the Royals in the sixth inning as a precautionary measure, due to flu-like symptoms. He was 0-for-3 in the game. More >
Young holds Blue Jays to three: Given that Toronto is the best run-scoring team in the Majors, the fact Young limited the Blue Jays to three runs (two on a homer) over six-plus innings amounted to a decent outing. Nevertheless, the Royals managed only two runs in support and the righty was pinned with the loss, falling to 7-5. Young is now 0-4 in six games when allowing two or more runs.
"Look, [my pitch to Encarnacion] was a mistake," Young said. "I didn't make too many today. He got it, and it was the difference in the game. It's a bad feeling as a pitcher, letting the team down with one pitch. But that's why we do this. I can live with it." More >
"Take a look at our record, we've got the best winning percentage in the American League. What more do you want? We're doing fine, and we just continue to do what we're doing. We don't have to do anything more, we don't have to do anything less." -- Yost, on how the Royals are doing
BAUTISTA TO SIT OUT ASG
Despite playing on Saturday and going 1-for-5, it was announced that the Blue Jays' right fielder would not play in Tuesday's 86th All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile, due to a sore shoulder. More >
Blue Jays: Left-hander Felix Doubront (1-0, 2.00 ERA) will be making his second start for Toronto in Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium at 2:10 ET. He has worked nine innings overall for the Blue Jays in two appearances, allowing just two runs. Over that span, Doubront has struck out seven and walked only one, as he attempts to recapture the efficiency he used to display as a member of the Red Sox's rotation.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (8-4, 3.40 ERA) will take the mound in Sunday's series finale against Toronto at Kauffman Stadium at 1:10 CT, ending the team's 11-game homestand. Volquez will also look to become the fifth Royals pitcher since 2000 to win nine or more games before the All-Star break.