Moustakas hits K.C. record 37th HR in Royals’ rout of Jays
TORONTO -- Mike Moustakas was in a home run drought.
He had not hit one in 15 games and he had hit only one in his past 28 games.
If ever there were a night on which he would get one, it would have been Wednesday when the Kansas City Royals connected on nearly everything in their 18-hit, 15-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays as starter Jakob Junis won his sixth straight decision.
Sure enough, Moustakas hit a solo shot in the sixth inning.
Not only was it the third hit of the game for the Royals third baseman, but it was his 37th homer of the season, setting a club record. Steve Balboni set the previous record of 36 in 1985.
“It was a good feeling to see it go over the wall and kind of get that one off my chest,” Moustakas said. “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. It’s definitely an awesome feeling and something I‘m going to remember for the rest of my life.”
Whit Merrifield, who had three hits, and Salvador Perez, who had three RBIs, also homered for the Royals (74-77), who ended a three-game losing streak.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Moustakas. “It’s been 32 years, I think, if my math is right. That means that there obviously has been some major degree of difficulty in doing it.”
The Blue Jays (71-81) had only a walk and an infield hit through the first six innings before scoring four runs in the seventh inning with both teams playing mostly reserves.
Toronto’s Raffy Lopez hit his fourth homer of the season in the ninth against Kelvin Herrera.
Junis (8-2) allowed three hits, two walks and four runs (two earned) while striking out three in 6 1/3 innings. His winning streak is the longest by a Royals rookie since Miguel Asencio won six in a row in 2002.
“I didn’t think he was as sharp as he’s been the last couple of games, but he did a good job of maneuvering,” Yost said.
Toronto starter Brett Anderson (3-4, 1-2 with Toronto) lasted only 1 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two walks and eight runs.
“Tonight wasn’t good by any stretch,” Anderson said. “Baseball has a weird way of humbling you. Going into the game, that was probably one of the five or 10 best pregame warmups and bullpens I’ve ever had. Obviously, it didn’t translate to any success on the mound.”
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, “A game like that you can’t figure out. They came out swinging and they didn’t miss. Wipe that one away, he’s pitched very well for us.”
Toronto reliever Carlos Ramirez, a September call-up, allowed four runs in the sixth, the first earned runs against him all season.
Merrifield led off the sixth with his 18th homer of the season for a 10-0 lead. Lorenzo Cain walked and Melky Cabrera hit an RBI double and two batters later scored on a groundout by Perez. Moustakas homered with two outs.
Ramirez had gone 47 2/3 innings this season, 10 in the majors, without giving up an earned run.
“Incredible year for the kid,” Gibbons said. “It was going to happen. He hadn’t been out there in a while and didn’t look quite as sharp. It’s a heck of a feat. He’s got something. He’s really shown us a lot.”
The Royals scored once in the first inning on singles by Merrifield and Lorenzo Cain, a double steal, and a sacrifice fly by Melky Cabrera.
Kansas City added eight runs in the second. Moustakas singled, Bonifacio doubled and Alcides Escobar hit a two-run single.
Alex Gordon walked and Merrifield delivered an RBI single. Gordon and Merrifield executed a double steal with Gordon going home on the throwing error by catcher Russell Martin. Cabrera walked with one out, and Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double.
Luis Santos replaced Anderson and gave up Perez’s 26th homer of the season, a two-run blast, and the Royals led 9-0.
NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Marco Estrada signed a one-year, $13 million contract extension for 2018. Estrada, who is 9-8 with a 4.84 ERA in 31 starts this season, was eligible for free agency at the end of the season. ... Blue Jays INF Richard Urena, a September call-up, ended a 0-for-18 drought with an eighth-inning double. ... Royals 2B Whit Merrifield stretched his hitting streak to six games with three hits, and 1B Eric Hosmer also has a six-game streak after his two-run double in the second. ... Royals LHP Jason Vargas (16-10, 4.19 ERA) will face Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (9-10, 3.76) in the series finale Thursday.