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Kendrys Morales slam powers Kansas City Royals past Toronto Blue Jays

By Alan Eskew, The Sports Xchange
Kendrys Morales slam powers Kansas City Royals past Toronto Blue Jays
Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales (25). Photo by Jeff Moffett/UPI | License Photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kendrys Morales changed the seventh inning and bailed out teammates Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer with one mighty swing.

Morales hit an eighth-inning grand slam and Yordano Ventura pitched a sturdy 6 2/3 frames as the Kansas City Royals topped the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.

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Raul Mondesi, Alcides Escobar and Cheslor Cuthbert singled to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. After Cain and Hosmer struck out, Morales blasted a high Brett Cecil fastball far over the center-field fence, an estimated 432 feet.

"It feels really good, obviously, but we've got to keep winning," Morales said. "We're not done yet as a club. We've just got to continue to do our job, day in and day out."

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Morales' third career slam turned a 3-1 advantage to a six-run lead.

"Gave us some breathing room," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Ventura, who claimed his first win since June 17, was charged with one run on five hits and four walks, throwing 106 pitches.

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"There are a lot of things that were going that I would let get to me before, but I stayed focused on the task at hand and was able to get through it," Ventura said through a translator.

The Royals seized a 2-0 lead in the second. Morales drew a walk to lead off the inning, but was forced out at second on an Alex Gordon comebacker. Paulo Orlando singled with Gordon stopping at second. Drew Butera's broken bat single to right-center scored Gordon and advanced Orlando to third.

"Died a hero," Butera said of his bat.

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Mondesi's bunt single got Gordon home and Orlando advanced to third when pitcher Marcus Stroman's throw sailed over first baseman Edwin Encarnacion's head.

"Just didn't put it where I wanted to," Stroman said. "I can make that play 10 out of 10 times if it happens again. But, it's baseball and it's just one of those plays I didn't make in the moment and it ended up costing me."

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It could have been a bigger inning, but a Mondesi baserunning blunder squelched that. Mondesi, who stole second, took off for third on Escobar's ground out to Encarnacion, but Butera did not break for home. Butera was out in a rundown.

Escobar made it 3-0 in the fifth, which he led off with a home run, his first in 146 at-bats and his second of the season.

The Blue Jays got on the board in the seventh and chased Ventura. After retiring the first two batters, Ventura walked No. 9 hitter Darwin Barney. Devon Travis' single moved Barney to third base and Ned Yost to the mound to bring in Peter Moylan. Barney scored on a Moylan wild pitch, but Jose Bautista went down swinging to end the inning.

"I think what they do is they play great defense," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the Royals. "A ball is hit in gaps, they flag it down and they make great plays on the infield. That's what they do. We're a good defensive club, too."

Stroman (8-5) soaked up the loss, permitting three runs on seven hits, including Escobar's home run, walked two and struck out four.

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"The pitch count kind of rose," Stroman said. "They just kept fouling off, fouling off good pitches that I was making. Kind of spoiling until they got a good pitch to hit. Just one of those days that I was battling."

NOTES: Retiring Alex Rodriguez hit .329 with a .644 slugging percentage, 50 home runs and 131 RBIs in 156 career games against the Royals. ... CF Kevin Pillar injured his left thumb going into second base Saturday and was not in the Blue Jays' starting lineup Sunday. Pillar is optimistic he will play Monday. ... Butera made his 21st start Sunday as Royals All-Star C Salvador Perez received the day off. ... Kansas City LHP Danny Duffy has emerged victorious in seven straight decisions, the longest winning streak by a member of the Royals since RHP Jeremy Guthrie won 10 in a row from Aug. 8, 2012-May 9, 2013. ... The Blue Jays return home Monday and will start RHP R.A. Dickey against Tampa Bay. The Rays will counter with RHP Jake Odorizzi. ... The Royals are idle Monday before continuing this homestand Tuesday with three games against the Chicago White Sox.

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