Jays fall to Royals despite Encarnacion's big night

Kansas City Royals pinch runner Jarrod Dyson (right) is greeted in the dugout by left fielder Alex...

Kansas City Royals pinch runner Jarrod Dyson (right) is greeted in the dugout by left fielder Alex Gordon (4) and first baseman Eric Hosmer after scoring the tying run in the bottom of the ninth against Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

It was there ... and then it wasn’t.

Looking for their 10th consecutive victory, the Blue Jays seemingly had it in the bag, but the baseball gods had other plans.

Leading the Kansas City Royals 6-5 in the ninth, with two out and a runner on second, closer Casey Janssen was ahead of the Royals’ Salvador Perez 1-2.

On the next pitch, Perez hit a routine ground ball right to Jose Reyes, but the shortstop’s throw to first was low and it short-hopped Edwin Encarnacion, who couldn’t make the pick, allowing pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson to score and tie it 6-6.

The next inning, the Royals would score two runs and the Jays came up empty, giving Kansas City the 8-6 victory and the home side an end to its nine-game winning streak.

It was a routine play that Reyes makes good on 99% of the time, but not this night.

“There’s no excuse, I should make a better throw there,” Reyes said of his fifth error of the season. “That’s a routine ground ball. I got it perfect, I just didn’t have enough on the throw. There’s no excuse, I have to make that play any time, especially in that situation with two out, I have to make that play.

“It’s in the past. It’s tough luck for us. It’s all I can say.”

Reyes did add that he knew as soon as the ball left his hand, that it was going to be trouble for Encarnacion.

“Yeah, as soon as I let it go I knew it was going to be a little bit down,” he said. ‘I didn’t know if it would be in the dirt, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a good throw.

“But this is baseball and sometimes it’s going to happen.”

The error also put an end to Casey Janssen’s save streak. He was 8-for-8 this season and had saved 23 consecutive games heading back into last season.

It also took a bit of the bloom off of Encarnacion’s night at the plate.

Steady Eddie has been murdering the ball this month and against Royals ace James Shields, he slammed a couple of two-run homers to left field, upping his total for May to 16 and his season’s total to 18.

“I don’t know what to tell you except it’s pretty amazing,” manager John Gibbons said. “He’s a special guy and he’s really locked in now. He’s really come into his own the last two years. To watch what he’s been doing this month, I don’t know where it goes down in history, but it’s pretty historic in my mind.”

The two homers placed Encarnacion into some elite company.

The 16 this month establishes a record for the most homers hit by any Blue Jay in any month. Encarnacion went into the game in a tie in that department with Jose Bautista who had 14 in June of 2012.

He is also now one homer shy of the major league record of 17 set by Barry Bonds in 2001.

The four RBIs, meanwhile upped Encarnacion’s season total to 48, with 33 of them coming this month which is the most any Jays player has hit in May. The club record is 34, established by Carlos Delgado in June of 2003.

It was also the fifth multi-homer game of the month for the Jays slugger, which tied a major-league record co-held by Albert Belle (September of 1995) and Harmon Killebrew (May, 1959).

Along with the loss came a night of misery for starter R.A. Dickey. He didn’t have his good stuff and the Royals were able to consistently find his knuckler with the sweet spot of their bats.

The Royals took a 5-4 lead when Dickey couldn’t provide a shutdown inning in the fifth after the Jays had gone ahead 4-2.

Overall, he allowed five runs on 10 hits.

“Jose makes that play 99 out of 100 times, it was just a real fluke thing,” Dickey said. “But we can’t second-guess things, the way we’ve been playing and the way we’ve been pitching and hitting.

“I mean Edwin, what can you say? It’s fun to watch and be on a team where so many things are going well and I think it will continue tomorrow. I think this was just a mild hiccup.”

EARLY STRUGGLES

Your can usually tell right off the bat whether or not Dickey has the good knuckler, good movement inside the strike zone.

In Thursday night’s game the first inning was a struggle, even though he ended it with consecutive strikeouts.

Nori Aoki, the Royals’ leadoff hitter, worked a 10-pitch walk and that set the tone. Dickey retired the next three hitters but went 3-2 on the next two and needed 28 pitches in total to end the inning.

 


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