Blue Jays 9 Royals 3
TORONTO — Eaten up in recent days by some of the toughest pitchers in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays snapped out of their slide by rocking the hottest hurler in the game.
Lyle Overbay stopped Zack Greinke’s streak of 111 consecutive innings without a home run against with a solo shot in the second, while Vernon Wells and Alex Rios both ended long droughts at the plate with run-scoring hits off the Kansas City Royals ace in a 9-3 victory Friday night.
Adam Lind also homered and Overbay added a two-run double as the Blue Jays (31-26) bounced back from a pair of tough losses by pounding Greinke for season-highs in runs (seven), earned runs (five) and hits (nine).
“It was a good night for everybody,” said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston.
Except for the Royals, that is.
Rookie Ricky Romero (3-2) pushed aside some recent struggles to make sure the unexpected bounty of run support didn’t go to waste, zipping through his first six innings. He hit a bump in the seventh, when Jose Guillen hit a two-run blast and Mike Jacobs followed with a solo shot.
But things were well in hand by then, and the Royals (23-31) could do little else to avert an eighth straight loss.
“No matter what I threw, it was just hammered,” lamented Greinke. “I’m not used to that. I don’t remember seeing anyone get hit that hard in a long time. Today I just got crushed.”
And who could have seen that coming?
Greinke started the night 8-1 with a 1.10 earned-run average in 11 starts and hadn’t allowed a home run since Daric Barton got him last Sept. 2. He’d made his opponents look like little boys all year, with his only poor start coming Sunday against the White Sox when he allowed four runs, three earned, over seven innings of a no-decision.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, had looked dreadful against Jon Lester, Jered Weaver and John Lackey in dropping three of their past four and had scratched out just two runs against Greinke in an 11-3 loss April 29 at Kansas City.
But there were good vibes in the building as the Blue Jays celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first game at the former SkyDome — a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers attended by 48,378, about three times more than the 15,345 on hand this night — and perhaps the sight of Tony Fernandez, Kelly Gruber and Tom Henke, along with a plan to stay off Greinke’s slider, got them going.
“All we really wanted to do is lay off his slider,” said Lind. “If we could do that, we could maybe force him into throwing some fastballs across the plate. Our whole team did what we had to do.”
Marco Scutaro was the catalyst, leading off the first with a double and eventually scoring on a Wells RBI single that ended his 0-for-14 run. Overbay’s homer in the second made it 2-0 and the Blue Jays scored four times in the third to bust it open.
Once again Scutaro opened the frame with a double and he came around on an RBI double by Rios, halting an 0-for-11 string. Rios came around on a throwing error by Tony Pena on a Wells chopper to short, and after Lind singled, Overbay made it 6-0 with his double.
Lind, who came into the game with hits in eight straight at-bats, homered in the fifth for the final run against Greinke (8-2), whose ERA climbed to 1.55.
Rod Barajas added a two-run shot in the eighth off Juan Cruz to make it 9-3.