Royals starter Kyle Davies will get the chore of stopping the league's most prolific power-hitting team in Monday's series opener, and he'll be matched against Toronto southpaw Brett Cecil. The Blue Jays have hit a league-high 140 home runs this season, and Escobar, who arrived in a trade during the All-Star break, joined the parade on Sunday.
While that wouldn't be notable for most players, it is for Escobar. The 27-year-old went 75 games without a home run for Atlanta, notching just 19 RBIs before being dealt to Toronto. He went 3-for-9 in his first two games after the All-Star break and contributed three hits and five RBIs, as the Blue Jays completed a sweep of Baltimore.
Enter Davies, who has gone seven starts without a win. The right-hander has completed at least six innings in at least three straight starts, a run that follows two straight outings in which he was knocked out before the end of the fifth. Since his last victory on May 28, Davies has allowed at least four earned runs in five of seven starts.
Kansas City, which enters with a six-game losing streak, has won in each of Davies' last two outings -- spurring some optimism from manager Ned Yost.
"He's gotten better over his last three or four starts," Yost said. "Staying within himself better, he's become more of a Major League pitcher for me. Especially with the last four starts. And that's been a big adjustment -- from going full-out, max-effort to pitching out on the mound. He's done a great job of that. He's started to figure out how to command."
The Royals have played much better at home recently, going 8-6 in their last 14 games and 13-13 under Yost. Still, they're just 18-23 at Kauffman Stadium for the year.
Kansas City is also playing through a stretch in which it will have just one day off between now and mid-August. The Royals will play 20 straight games, get a day off on Aug. 5, then play another 10 games.
Blue Jays: Cecil makes second-half debut
Cecil, like Davies, will be making his first start of the second half on Monday. The 24-year-old has thrown back-to-back quality starts, and the Blue Jays are 10-5 in his outings. Cecil, a supplemental-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, is 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in road games, but he's never faced Kansas City in his brief career.
The Blue Jays hit 25 home runs in July, a league-high total, but have struggled on the road this season, going 24-25 away from Rogers Centre and winning just two of their past seven road series.
Royals: Soria provides reliable option
Kansas City plays a lot of close games, and fittingly, it has one of the very best closers in baseball. All-Star Joakim Soria may have taken the loss on Saturday, but he's converted 18 straight save opportunities. Soria has allowed just four earned runs in his last 25 games, and he's gone 104-for-113 in save opportunities in his brief career.
The Royals gave Mike Aviles, who's mired in a 1-for-16 slump, the day off on Sunday. Aviles has just one extra-base hit and one RBI in his last nine games, and Kansas City played Chris Getz in his place in its finale against Oakland.
Forty-six of Kansas City's games have been decided by two runs or fewer, and they're 21-25 in those circumstances. The Royals have also played in a league-high 31 games decided by one run. ... Toronto's Adam Lind extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games on Sunday. ... The Royals scored in only four of the 27 innings of their weekend series against the A's and fell to a series sweep. ...Kansas City is 32-0 when leading after eighth innings.
Mon, 7/19 8:10 PM ET
Rallying Royals top Jays in extras
Down by a run heading into the bottom of the 10th, Royals outfielder Scott Podsednik hit a leadoff triple and scored to tie the game, and Alberto Callaspo won it with a walk-off single off Jays closer Kevin Gregg.
|Lewis, F, LF||5||1||2||0||0||1||3||.283|
|Escobar, Y, SS||4||1||2||2||0||0||2||.252|
|Wells, V, CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||4||.267|
|Hill, A, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||4||.195|
|Buck, J, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.278|
|Guillen, J, DH||4||0||2||0||1||0||1||.278|
|Betancourt, Y, SS||4||0||1||2||0||1||2||.259|
1-Ran for Butler in the 10th.
2B: Encarnacion (7, Davies).
HR: Escobar, Y (2, 3rd inning off Davies, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Lewis, F 2; Escobar, Y 5; Bautista 2; Wells, V; Lind; Hill, A; Overbay 2; Buck, J; Encarnacion 2.
RBI: Escobar, Y 2 (26), Buck, J (44), Bautista (59).
2-out RBI: Escobar, Y 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Wells, V; Escobar, Y; Hill, A.
GIDP: Bautista; Encarnacion.
Team RISP: 3-for-16.
Team LOB: 8.
E: Bautista (5, fielding).
DP: 2 (Overbay, Hill, A-Escobar, Y-Overbay).
2B: Bloomquist (4, Cecil).
3B: Podsednik (6, Gregg).
TB: Podsednik 3; Kendall; DeJesus; Butler; Guillen, J 2; Callaspo; Aviles; Bloomquist 2; Betancourt, Y.
RBI: Betancourt, Y 2 (42), Kendall 2 (33), Callaspo (42).
2-out RBI: Betancourt, Y; Kendall; Callaspo.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Podsednik; Betancourt, Y.
Team RISP: 3-for-9.
Team LOB: 8.
Outfield assists: DeJesus (Lind at 3rd base).
DP: 3 (Aviles-Butler, DeJesus-Callaspo, Betancourt, Y-Aviles-Butler).
|Downs, S(BS, 2)||0.2||1||0||0||0||0||0||2.52|
|Gregg(BS, 4)(L, 0-4)||0.2||3||2||2||1||0||0||3.93|
Pitches-strikes: Cecil 94-61, Downs, S 9-6, Frasor 10-7, Camp 12-8, Gregg 21-9, Davies 93-57, Tejeda 8-8, Soria 11-6, Farnsworth 13-10.
Groundouts-flyouts: Cecil 8-6, Downs, S 2-0, Frasor 2-0, Camp 1-0, Gregg 1-1, Davies 6-7, Tejeda 0-0, Soria 1-0, Farnsworth 1-1.
Batters faced: Cecil 27, Downs, S 3, Frasor 3, Camp 3, Gregg 6, Davies 29, Tejeda 3, Soria 4, Farnsworth 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Downs, S 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Ted Barrett. 1B: Brian O'Nora. 2B: Mike Estabrook. 3B: Phil Cuzzi.
Weather: 92 degrees, clear.
Wind: 13 mph, L to R.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media