By Gregor Chisholm and Jeffrey Flanagan
TORONTO -- The Royals scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning vs. recently acquired right-hander Mark Lowe to steal a victory away from the Blue Jays with a 7-6 win on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
"We had to have this one today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had to find a way to beat [Mark] Buehrle, especially the way he performs against us."
Kansas City left fielder Ben Zobrist scored the first run in the eighth with a homer to right, which was the second time he went deep in the game. Eric Hosmer added a go-ahead RBI single and Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly to put the Royals up for good. All three runs were charged to Lowe, who was making his first appearance for Toronto following Friday's trade with Seattle.
Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was let off the hook following his team's late rally. He allowed five runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings. Jose Bautista went deep twice for the Blue Jays in the 24th multi-homer game of his career, while Josh Donaldson added a two-run shot for his 26th of the year. Donaldson had a chance to tie it in the ninth, but he grounded out with a runner on third to end the game.
"These guys are hotter than heck," Yost said of the Jays. "I almost had to laugh when Bautista gets the homer off Wade [Davis] and then Encarnacion hit the next pitch to the wall. Seriously, I almost started laughing."
"We had our chances," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The guys keep pounding away. It was just another entertaining ballgame like last night. We came up short today, but the guys kept battling I know that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rough debut: Lowe was borderline untouchable with the Mariners this season, but his first appearance in Toronto will be one he wants to forget. He entered the game having surrendered four runs all year and he allowed three in his Blue Jays debut. The home run by Zobrist was the first time he allowed a run since July 20 and his season ERA soared from 1.00 to 1.70. More >
"Not a bad pitch for some guys," Lowe said of Zobrist's homer. "Not a good pitch to him, he likes the ball coming into him. Just trying to go backdoor slider and kind of yanked it over the middle of the plate. Right in his swing path, just a bad pitch in that situation."
Ben arrives: Zobrist showed why the Royals have had such interest in him for the last few years. Zobrist gave the Royals a quick lead against Mark Buehrle in the first inning when he socked his first homer as a Royal. In the sixth, Zobrist ignited a rally with a slicing double down the right-field line. Then, Zobrist belted another homer in the eighth to tie it at 5 -- becoming the seventh Royal to hit a homer from both sides of the plate in a game and first since Wilson Betemit in 2010. More >
Zobrist was happy to be able to contribute to his new team.
"For sure. It helps a ton," Zobrist said. "The first couple of games, we don't win, so it's nice to be able to contribute to a win. I am just trying to do the little things and sometimes you get to do the bigger things."
Back to back: Donaldson gave the Blue Jays a 4- 1 lead in the fifth with a two-run shot to left field. According to Statcast™, Donaldson's 26th of the year was projected to travel 399 feet and left his bat at 106 mph. Bautista followed in the very next at-bat with a solo shot. That was No. 22 on the year for Bautista and it was the sixth time this season the Blue Jays hit back-to-back homers.
"They have a heck of a ballclub on the other side," Gibbons said. "They're pesky, they put the ball in play, they have great speed. One of those games where it was really two good teams going at it."
Hoz hit streak: Hosmer continued his torrid hitting when he stroked a two-run single to right in the Royals' three-run sixth inning. That single extended Hosmer's hitting streak to 14 games, two shy of his career high. Kendrys Morales followed with an RBI single to right and the Royals suddenly were within 5-4 with runners at the corners and one out. But Perez went after Buehrle's first pitch and rolled into an easy 4-6-3 double play. Hosmer came through again in the eighth with a go-ahead RBI single.
"It's hard not to be excited. You just feel the buzz in the clubhouse, on the bench during the game. Yesterday, we get down three runs the first inning, even though we were facing [Johnny] Cueto was just kind of a feeling like David Price walks out, is this really David Price standing here? Is that really [Troy] Tulowitzki standing in front of us? I think [GM] Alex [Anthopoulos] and the front office did an outstanding job getting guys here." -- Buehrle, in his first public comments about Toronto's non-waiver Trade Deadline deals. Buehrle got a no-decision on Saturday after allowing four runs -- three earned -- over seven innings.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blue Jays are one of three teams since 2007 to have a winning record through the end of July despite having a losing record in three of four months in a season. Minnesota accomplished the same thing this year while Cincinnati also did it in 2014.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez will start the finale of this four-game road set on Sunday at 12:07 p.m. CT. Volquez went six innings and gave up three runs in his last start, a 9-4 win over Cleveland.
Blue Jays: Right-hander R.A. Dickey gets the ball on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET for the series finale at Rogers Centre. He's making this start on three days' rest so that recently acquired David Price can make his Blue Jays debut on Monday afternoon vs. Minnesota. Dickey has allowed three runs or fewer in all but one of his last 11 outings.