Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson loses his bat as he strikes out during the seventh inning of the team’s baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, June 23, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Royals beat Blue Jays 5-4, at .500 for 1st time since April

Royals 5 Blue Jays 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whit Merrifield hit a two-run, two-out double that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night to reach .500 for the first time since April.

With their 10th win in 12 games, the Royals improved to 36-36. They were 6-6 before play on April 20, then went on a nine-game losing streak that night and dropped as low as 10-20, seven games out of first place. They trail AL Central-leading Cleveland by three games.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and extended it when Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit RBI singles off Joakim Soria (4-2).

Salvador Perez doubled with one out in the bottom half against Ryan Tepera, took third on a wild pitch, and Brandon Moss walked with two outs.

Alcides Escobar greeted Aaron Loup (2-1) with an RBI single, and Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring single on the first pitch from Jason Grilli. Ahead 3-1 in the count, Merrifield doubled on a hop to the left-field wall, and Gordon scored easily from first, crossing the plate with a headfirst slide.

Royals rookie Jake Junis gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Toronto opened a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Troy Tulowitzki hit an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch. Perez singled in a run in the seventh.

ROYALS MOVES

RHP Chris Young, an integral part of the Royals’ 2015 World Series championship team, was designated for assignment with a 7.50 ERA in 14 appearances. The Royals signed RHP Neftali Feliz, who was released Monday by Milwaukee. He was 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA for the Brewers and eight for nine in save vchances.

BLUE JAYS MOVES

Toronto selected the contract of OF Ian Parmley from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was hitting .289 with 11 stolen bases, and started him in right field. They optioned RHP Cesar Valdez to the Bisons. 2B Devon Travis (right knee damaged cartilage) was transferred to the 60-day DL.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Donaldson, scratched Thursday with a sore left knee, was back at third base and went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts. … LF Steve Pearce, who bruised his right knee banging into the wall Wednesday, did not play for the second consecutive game.

Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (right oblique strain) is to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Omaha.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada and Royals LHP Jason Vargas, both Long Beach State alumni, are scheduled to start Saturday.

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