Ventura bears down to throttle Jays in finale

Right-hander guts out 6 2/3 strong innings to help secure series win

Ventura bears down to throttle Jays in finale

KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Drew Butera could tell early on that right-hander Yordano Ventura didn't have his best stuff, and certainly not his best command.

"I mean, I've seen him have really great stuff, unhittable stuff," Butera said. "But I thought he was as mentally tough today as he's been all season. He battled and fought through it."

Indeed, Ventura navigated his way through trouble early and left with two outs in the seventh with a three-run lead as the Royals went on to a 7-1 win over the Blue Jays in Sunday's rubber game.

It was a struggle, Ventura said. But then again, the Blue Jays are no easy task.

"I was fighting the whole game," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "I didn't feel that comfortable with my mechanics early. My goal was to keep us in the game until we could score some runs, and we did."

Ventura gave up five hits and was charged with a run when reliever Peter Moylan uncorked a wild pitch that scored an inherited Ventura runner from third. Ventura walked four and struck out four in picking up his first win since June 17.

The walks didn't bother Royals manager Ned Yost a bit.

"To get into the seventh scoreless against that lineup was great," Yost said. "I wouldn't say that he beared down because he did from the first pitch. But he made better pitches when he needed to. He ended up walking two or three guys [four], but he was just missing. He did a great job of not giving in."

The Blue Jays had baserunners against Ventura in each of the first four innings -- seven runners total in that span. But Ventura stifled the Blue Jays each time.

"There were a lot of things that went wrong that I would have let get to me before," Ventura said. "But I stayed focused and just got through it.

"What I was focused on early was that I saw I had 60 pitches and I wanted to get some ground balls, and maybe some double plays to get deeper in the game. It helped to focus on just keeping the ball down."

Cain nabs Bautista

Ventura also was aided by some terrific defense. Right fielder Lorenzo Cain threw out Jose Bautista trying to advance from first to third in the third inning, center fielder Paulo Orlando made a great running catch of a line drive with two on in the fourth, and shortstop Alcides Escobar made a sensational play up the middle to throw out a runner in the seventh.

Royals flash leather for the out

"It was no surprise that [they] can make those plays," Ventura said. "They do it all the time."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.