THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the Kansas City Royals mired in a 10-game losing streak, personnel changes could be on the horizon.
Ricky Romero won his third straight start, Brett Lawrie stole home and drove in two runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Kansas City 5-3 Sunday, sending the Royals to their 10th straight loss.
The Royals have only six skids longer than 10 in franchise history. It is their longest losing streak since dropping 12 consecutive May 19- 30, 2008. As the losses mount up — nine of them at Kauffman Stadium on this opening 10-game homestand — manager Ned Yost said changes may be necessary.
"We’re close to getting to the point of needing to make some changes," Yost acknowledged. "If we need to make some moves, we will, but we can’t continue with this."
The Royals have scored three or less runs in five of their past six games and rank next-to-last in the American League with 56 runs. The starting pitchers have thrown a total of 18 innings in the past four games, none lasting more than five innings.
The Blue Jays scored four runs in the fifth to chase Royals left-hander Danny Duffy. Lawrie’s two-out single to right scored Yunel Escobar and Jose Bautista. Rajai Davis led off the inning with a double and scored on Escobar’s single. Bautista, who walked three times, singled home J.P. Arencibia with the other run.
Duffy laboured through 4 2-3 innings, throwing 113 pitches and walking five. He did not give up a hit until Ben Francisco singled with two outs in the fourth, but yielded four hits and two walks in the fifth while retiring only two.
The Royals cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning, which Jeff Francoeur and Mike Moustakas started with singles. Francoeur scored on an Alcides Escobar fielder’s choice grounder, while Moustakas scored on Yunel Escobar’s throwing error.
The Blue Jays added a run in the eighth, when Lawrie, who had walked and went to third on Arencibia’s single, pulled off a double steal. Arencibia broke for second and catcher Humberto Quintero fired to second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt. Lawrie broke for home and beat Betancourt’s throw to the plate.
"We ran a double steal in the eighth inning, which turned out to be a pretty big run," Farrell said.
The Royals, who have had one winning season since 1994, again find themselves in a deep hole to start this season.
"This is not even a hole," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We finished 32 games under .500 (in 2009) That’s a hole."
Francisco Cordero gave up a run in the ninth, but logged his first save in his first opportunity. Cordero, who will serve as Toronto’s closer with Sergio Santos going on the disabled list, collected his 328th career save.
Moustakas singled home Betancourt for the ninth inning run, but pinch-hitter Brayan Pena grounded into a game inning double play on the first pitch with runners on the corners.
"If you get nervous, you’re in the wrong business," Cordero said. "I talk to myself and say we’ve got a chance for a double play right here, just make a good pitch or just go one hitter at a time. In the beginning when I was young, sometime I get nervous, but not anymore. I’ve been doing this for so long. All I’ve got to do is step off, take a little breather and make a good pitch.
"You’re in trouble, but one pitch can get you out of the inning. That’s what I did. I threw a good two-seam down-and-away, he grounded to second and the perfect double play. Now we go home happy. I get the save, we get the ‘w.’ "
NOTES: Santos, who has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation, will fly Monday to Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum. "We have a protocol for all our players and we’ll follow it with Sergio," Farrell said. … Bautista has 11 hits, but has drawn 14 walks. … A bone scan of Royals RHP Greg Holland revealed no stress fracture of his left rib, which has a stress reaction. Holland will be shut down for five days and likely be out three weeks. …. The Royals have lost a club record 10 straight home games, dating to last season. … The Blue Jays have never swept a four-game series at Kansas City, but with a Monday victory could accomplish that.