By Gregor Chisholm and Jeffrey Flanagan
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning to send the Blue Jays to a 7-6 victory over the Royals on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Donaldson's third hit of the night scored Troy Tulowitzki from second and came off left-hander Franklin Morales. The rally in the 11th inning began with a one-out single by Tulowitzki, who later advanced to second when a balk was called on Morales. Donaldson finished 3-for-5 with a walk, four RBIs and a run scored.
Neither Royals manager Ned Yost nor Morales thought he balked.
"It is my regular move," Morales said. "But I don't want to get fined."
"He's definitely one guy that you want up there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Donaldson. "He's a power guy, but he's also a complete hitter. He's not a guy that goes up there swinging for the fences all of the time. He'll play the situation, he'll take his hit up the middle, he'll take it to right field. … He plays the situations great and he's not afraid to fail."
Right-hander Johnny Cueto allowed three runs over six strong innings in his Royals debut, but he didn't factor into the decision. He scattered seven hits and walked two with seven strikeouts during his first appearance in the American League. Toronto's Drew Hutchison also didn't factor into the decision after he surrendered four runs (three earned) over five-plus innings.
"I thought he pitched really well," Yost said. "He may have got a ball up to Donaldson, but that's about it." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Blue Jays walk it off: Toronto improved to 4-5 in extra-inning games this year following Donaldson's single. Toronto's third baseman has displayed a flair for the dramatic this season with a countless number of timely hits, including a walk-off homer against the White Sox earlier this year. Donaldson has five doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs with a total of 14 hits over his past 10 games.
"To get any kind of walk-off hit is exciting," said Donaldson, who raised his hands into the air and pointed to the crowd along the first-line line after his timely single. "You want to be able to share that with the fans, with your teammates. You don't get to do it very often, and when you do, you want to remember and you want the fans to be able to remember it too."
Capitalizing on miscue:Lorenzo Cain led off the Royals' sixth with an infield single. Then Eric Hosmer hit a swinging, broken-bat bunt down the third-base line and Donaldson, charging from third, made a poor decision to try and get Hosmer at first. The throw went wild and down the right-field line, and Cain scored all the way from first while Hosmer took third. One batter later, Kendrys Morales drove in Hosmer with a deep sacrifice fly to left.
Four in a row: The Blue Jays opened the bottom of the seventh inning with four consecutive hits off Royals reliever Ryan Madson. Ryan Goins and Tulowitzki led off with singles, and Donaldson followed with an RBI double. That cut the lead to 6-5 and the Blue Jays had a chance to score a lot more, but Justin Smoak hit into a double play with the bases loaded and nobody out. One run scored to tie the game, but the threat came to an end when Russell Martin grounded out during the next at-bat.
"I can't seem to get these guys out," Madson said. "I've faced them twice and haven't gotten anyone out. I kept leaving pitches up over the middle. Obviously I wasn't trying to, but sometimes the ball doesn't go where you want it to. Next time I face them, I'll focus harder."
The slide: Designated hitter Morales gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the first when he shot a double down the left-field line -- barely fair -- that plated Cain. But what followed was one of the more unusual plays of the year. Ben Zobrist followed with his first hit as a Royal to right field, where Joe Bautista threw a strike home that appeared to have Morales out easily. But as catcher Russell Martin swiped a tag, Morales actually came up way short on his slide. The DH then popped straight up and before Martin could recover and tag him, Morales snuck his foot on the plate -- safe. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Toronto had its streak of 12 consecutive games with a home run snapped. It was the first time in franchise history that the Blue Jays homered in 12 straight games immediately following the All-Star break. The last AL team with home runs in 13 straight games after the break was Oakland in 1999.
Gibbons won his challenge in the top of the first inning following a disputed call at second base. With two outs, Zobrist attempted to steal second and was called safe by second-base umpire Jim Wolf. The play went to a review and was overturned as replays showed Goins' glove hit Zobrist before the Royals' runner was able to touch the base.
The Royals challenged the Blue Jays' first hit off Cueto, a bunt single by Ezequiel Carrera. Third baseman Mike Moustakas charged and grabbed it, but threw high to Hosmer at first. Hosmer leaped to grab it and got his foot back on the bag, but Carrera was ruled safe. The Royals challenged that Hosmer's foot got down in time, but the play stood after review.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (5-7, 4.86 ERA) takes the hill for the Royals against the Blue Jays on Saturday at 12:07 p.m. CT. Ventura is coming off a solid start and win against Houston -- seven innings, six hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their four-game series against the Royals on Saturday afternoon at 1:07 p.m. ET. Buehrle had his string of nine consecutive starts with two earned runs or less and at least six innings pitched snapped during his last start against the Mariners. Despite that, he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 straight outings.