By Keegan Matheson and Gregor Chisholm
TORONTO -- The Royals wasted no time on Wednesday night in Toronto, jumping out to a nine-run lead in the second inning and holding on for a 15-5 win over the Blue Jays.
Each member of their starting lineup and a season-high 13 Royals batters in total recorded at least one hit, including a record-setting home run off the bat of third baseman Mike Moustakas. His 37th homer of the season set a Royals single-season record, surpassing Steve Balboni, who hit 36 in 1985.
"It's a great accomplishment," manager Ned Yost said of the fallen 32-year-old record. "There obviously has been some major degree of difficulty in doing it. So for him to accomplish it with 11 games left, it's a huge, huge accomplishment."
With the win, Kansas City moves back within 3 1/2 games of Minnesota for the second American League Wild Card spot after the Twins fell 11-3 to the Yankees earlier Wednesday.
Right-hander Jakob Junis took the early lead and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before it was eventually broken up by a Kevin Pillar infield single with one out in the frame. The 25-year-old was charged with four runs (two earned) on just three hits before exiting after 6 1/3 innings.
"I didn't think he was as sharp as he's been the last couple of games," Yost said, "but he did a good job of maneuvering. There were a lot of long outs, a lot of hard outs, but they were outs and that's all we were looking for."
Brett Anderson couldn't make it out of the second inning for Toronto as he was hit early and often. The left-hander lasted 1 1/3 inning and allowed eight earned runs on seven hits with two walks. He's expected to make two more starts before the end of the season as part of an extended audition with the Blue Jays.
"It was terrible," Anderson said. "Tonight wasn't good by any stretch. It's weird, baseball has a weird way of humbling you. Literally going into the game that was probably one of the five or 10 best pregame bullpens I've ever had, and obviously it didn't translate to any kind of success on the mound."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Streak snapped: Whit Merrifield extended Kansas City's lead with his 18th home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth. The home run was noteworthy, however, because of the pitcher on the mound. Blue Jays rookie Carlos Ramirez had pitched 47 2/3 innings between the Minor Leagues and Major Leagues without allowing an earned run in 2017 until Merrifield's 417-foot shot.
"It has been an incredible year for the kid," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was going to happen. He hadn't been out there for a while and wasn't as sharp. But it was a heck of a feat and he's got something. He's really shown us a lot. He'll be back out there in the next couple of days and hopefully he can pick right up where he left off."
Perez Power: Salvador Perez piled on with a two-run home run in the top of the second off reliever Luis Santos, who had just taken over for Anderson. With Eric Hosmer standing on second after a two-run double, Perez connected on a low changeup and sent it a Statcast™ projected 386 feet over the wall in left field for his 26th home run of the season.
"I think there's parts of it left in the dugout if you guys want some souvenirs." -- Anderson, on ripping apart his hat in the dugout after being pulled from the game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Blue Jays allowed 15 or more runs for the fourth time this season. That equals their total from the previous six seasons combined. Four-plus games of at least 15 runs is tied with the Padres for the most in the Major Leagues.
Anderson became the second Blue Jays starter in team history to allow at least seven hits and eight runs while tossing 1 1/3 or fewer innings. Dana Eveland allowed eight runs on eight hits on May 22, 2010 at Arizona.
The Royals attempted their second double steal of the game in the top of the second, and Russell Martin's throw to third base skipped past Josh Donaldson on a short hop. Alex Gordon quickly jumped up and ran home, but shortstop Ryan Goins ran down the ball and made a strong throw in to Martin. Gordon was called safe on a close play, which stood after a challenge from the Blue Jays.
Goins sent a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to right fielder Terrance Gore, who threw home with Teoscar Hernandez running from third. Hernandez reached back to touch home plate with his left hand and was called safe on the field. The call stood after a challenge from the Royals.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Jason Vargas (16-10, 4.19 ERA) will start the series finale on Thursday at 6:07 p.m. CT in Toronto. The All-Star lefty went five-plus innings against the Indians on Friday and gave up five hits and three runs in the Royals' 4-3 win.
Blue Jays: Left-hander J.A. Happ (9-10, 3.76) will take the mound when the Royals and Blue Jays meet for the final time this season on Thursday night. Happ has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last four outings, and in his last start, he went more than six innings for the first time since Aug. 2.