TORONTO — The Kansas City Royals were aggressive from the start Wednesday night and it paid off with one of their more lopsided wins of the year.
Swinging regularly at the first pitch against Brett Anderson, the Royals chased the Toronto starter early in a 15-5 rout of the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer in Kansas City’s eight-run second inning and Whit Merrifield and Mike Moustakas added solo shots in a four-run sixth. The Royals outhit Toronto 18-6 and ended a three-game losing skid.
“They came out swinging and they didn’t miss,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
The Royals (74-77) are clinging to faint playoff hopes in the American League. They entered play four games behind Minnesota in the race for the second wild-card spot.
Raffy Lopez hit a solo homer for Toronto (71-81) and Teoscar Hernandez had a two-run double.
Melky Cabrera drove in Lorenzo Cain with a sacrifice fly in the first inning before the Royals erupted in the second. The first five Royals reached base in the frame, with Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer driving in two runs apiece.
Merrifield added an RBI single while Alex Gordon stole third and came home on a Russell Martin throwing error. Luis Santos replaced Anderson with one out but didn’t fare much better.
Perez turned on an 0-2 pitch for his 26th homer of the year and Moustakas doubled for his second hit of the inning before the Toronto reliever finally got the last two outs.
Anderson (3-4), meanwhile, gave up a season-high eight earned runs along with seven hits and two walks.
“It’s just one of those nights,” he said. “Obviously you’d like to battle and get through and give the (team) a chance. But nothing seemed to work.”
Anderson started trending on Twitter after a video clip showed him tearing his cap in frustration while sitting on the dugout bench.
“I don’t really snap,” he said. “I try to stay as even keel as possible, but that’s what happened. It’s part of the game sometimes.”
In the sixth, Merrifield hit a 1-0 pitch from Carlos Ramirez into the seats for his 18th homer. It was the first earned run allowed by the right-hander in 47 2/3 innings at the minor- and major-league level this year.
Moustakas set a franchise record later in the inning when he belted his 37th homer of the season. It moved him past Steve Balboni (1985) for the Royals’ all-time single-season high.
“It was pretty special to be able to hit that and then come in and share that with all my teammates, all the guys I’ve spent 10-plus years with,” Moustakas said. “It’s definitely an awesome feeling and something I’m definitely going to remember for the rest of my life.”
The Blue Jays got on the board with four runs in the seventh. After Hernandez drove in the first two runs, Lopez and Ryan Goins provided back-to-back sacrifice flies.
Royals starter Jakob Junis (8-2) allowed three hits over 6 1/3 innings. He gave up two earned runs while walking a pair and striking out three.
Kansas City tacked on two more runs in the eighth and Lopez went deep in the ninth. It was his fourth homer of the season.
Announced attendance was 33,050, pushing the Blue Jays’ season total past three million for the third straight year.
Notes: The game took three hours one minute to play. … Before the game, the Blue Jays announced that right-hander Marco Estrada had signed a US$13-million, one-year contract extension through 2018. … Left-handers are scheduled to square off Thursday night in the rubber game of the three-game series. J.A. Happ (9-10, 3.76 earned-run average) will start for Toronto against Jason Vargas (16-10, 4.19 ERA). … The Blue Jays will close out their home schedule with a weekend series against the New York Yankees.