Moustakas powers Royals in rout of Blue Jays
Monday, July 2, 2012
TORONTO (AP) — Mike Moustakas snapped out of his slump, and then some.
Moustakas hit his first career grand slam, Everett Teaford pitched seven innings for his first win of the season and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-3 on Monday night.
Hitless in 14 at-bats after going 0-for-8 in Saturday’s doubleheader at Minnesota, Moustakas was held out of Sunday’s series finale, with Royals manager Ned Yost giving him a chance to “catch his breath.”
Moustakas must have breathed deeply.
After striking out his first time up, he hit an RBI double the next time. He then launched a grand slam to highlight Kansas City’s five-run seventh, giving him a career-best five RBI.
“It was really cool,” Moustakas said. “I got a good pitch to hit, got a fastball over the middle of the plate and just tried not to do too much with it.”
Moustakas said teammates and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer had been trying to keep him encouraged, but nothing helped more than snapping his hitless streak with his third-inning double.
“That was big,” he said. “It helped me a lot.”
Salvador Perez added a two-run homer as the Royals ended a three-game losing streak, matched their season high with 14 hits and beat Toronto for the first time in five meetings this season.
Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 27th home run and Colby Rasmus hit a solo shot off the facing of the fifth deck but it wasn’t enough for the Blue Jays, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Teaford (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits for his first win since last September. He walked two and struck out two.
“For the most part I thought he pitched very, very well,” Yost said. “I’m very pleased with him.”
Teaford said Kansas City’s offensive outburst made his job easy.
“When you get 11 runs, it’s easy to pitch,” he said.
Kelvin Herrera worked the eighth and Tim Collins finished in the ninth as the Royals won for the fifth time in eight games.
Ricky Romero (8-3) lost at home for the first time in almost a year, giving up eight runs and a season-high 11 hits in six-plus innings. Romero, who suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season, also allowed eight runs in last Wednesday’s loss at Boston.
A downcast Romero said he’s working hard between starts, but still feels as if he’s stuck in quicksand.
“Every time you just keep getting deeper and deeper and you don’t know how to get out of it,” he said.
Romero came in unbeaten in 14 starts at Rogers Centre since losing a 4-1 decision to the Yankees on July 16, 2011, and was handed an early lead when Brett Lawrie scored on Yunel Escobar’s bases-loaded groundout in the first.
“Teaford did a great job of getting out of that first inning only giving up one,” Yost said. “That could have been some damage right there.”
Romero couldn’t hold the lead, however, and Perez quickly put the Royals in front with his third homer, a two-out line drive that barely cleared the left-field fence.
“He hit it so hard it didn’t think it had enough height to get out but it got out and that was huge,” Yost said. “It did turn the momentum around.”
Kansas City added two more in the third on back-to-back RBI doubles by Yuniesky Betancourt and Moustakas.
Bautista made it 4-2 with a solo drive to center in the bottom half, but the Royals piled on with two more in the fourth. Alex Gordon’s RBI single drove in Perez and Jason Bourgeois scored on a wild pitch.
Rasmus cut it to 6-3 with a booming homer off Teaford in the fifth, a two-out drive that hit off the facing of the fifth deck in right field, his 16th of the season and second in two days.
Asked whether Rasmus’ drive was the longest home run he’s ever allowed, Teaford joked he would “have to check air traffic control.”
Kansas City chased Romero and put the game out of reach with a five-run seventh. Alcides Escobar led off with a walk, Eric Hosmer doubled and David Pauley came on to replace Romero. Pauley hit Billy Butler to load the bases, gave up an RBI single to Betancourt, then surrendered a first-pitch homer to Moustakas, his 14th.
“That was our first grand slam of the year and it came at a great time,” Yost said.
Notes: Bautista was chosen AL Player of the Month for June after hitting 14 home runs, and was also picked as a participant in the Home Run Derby. ... Lawrie struck out swinging in the fifth, ending a streak of 34 at-bats without a strikeout. Lawrie, whose last strikeout was June 24 at Miami, struck out again in to end the seventh. ... Toronto designated Pauley for assignment following the game and purchased the contract of Triple-A RHP Drew Carpenter. ... The Royals have won four of their past five games in Toronto.
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