The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping Jose Reyes ' injury can be a source of inspiration.
After getting their first win from their ace, the Blue Jays attempt to run their road winning streak over the Kansas City Royals to seven games Sunday.
Toronto (5-6) is expected to be without Reyes for three months after he suffered a severe left ankle sprain while trying to steal a base in Friday's 8-4 win at Kansas City.
The All-Star shortstop was hitting .395 and led the majors with five stolen bases before the injury. The Blue Jays overcame Reyes' absence Saturday, beating the Royals 3-2 as R.A. Dickey yielded one run in 6 1-3 innings for his first win since being acquired in an offseason trade with the New York Mets .
"It certainly hurts to lose a player of Jose's caliber and personality," Dickey said. "I think it also provides us with an opportunity to come together and collectively shoulder the burden that we will miss with his absence. Sometimes a situation like that can really cause a team to jell."
Dickey, who lost his first two starts in a Toronto uniform while allowing 12 runs in 10 2-3 innings, became the first Blue Jays starter to reach the seventh inning.
The starting staff has a 6.83 ERA.
"We're going to go as far as the rotation is going to bring us," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
Toronto's starters have a 3.68 ERA during the team's six-game winning streak at Kauffman Stadium. One of the best outings in that span came from scheduled Sunday starter Brandon Morrow (0-1, 5.59 ERA), who yielded Eric Hosmer 's homer but otherwise stymied the Royals for 6 2-3 innings in a 4-1 victory last April 23.
Morrow, though, has lost his last three outings on the road, posting an 8.76 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .357 with four homers.
The right-hander's latest poor performance away from home came Tuesday, getting touched for five runs and nine hits - two homers - in 3 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Detroit.
"Just didn't make a pitch when I needed to," Morrow said. "Probably, that was the story of the game."
Hosmer is 5 for 9 with two homers off Morrow, but it's unclear if he'll return after missing the first two games of this series with tightness in his right quadriceps. The first baseman has a .344 average with two homers and six RBIs in eight home matchups with Toronto.
The right-hander gave up a run in the first inning Monday but didn't allow another over the next seven, finishing with seven strikeouts in a 3-1 win over Minnesota. He's fanned 15 batters over 14 innings.
"He really had his big slider working and he had a good fastball, too," manager Ned Yost said. "After the first inning he really settled down. His slider was phenomenal. He was able to throw it at the back foot of their big sluggers and keep them off balance. Giving us eight strong innings was big."
Santana, though, is 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA and 10 walks over 19 innings during his last three starts against the Blue Jays - all defeats for the Angels.
Jose Bautista , who hit his third home run Saturday, is 7 for 22 with two homers and three doubles against Santana.
Kansas City (6-5) had won six of seven entering this series.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|April 13, 2013||Jose Reyes||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|April 12, 2013||Jose Reyes||Day-to-Day||Sprained left ankle|
|April 11, 2013||Darren Oliver||Day-to-Day||Arm|
|April 04, 2013||Jose Bautista||Day-to-Day||Left game - Twisted ankle|
|March 27, 2013||Dustin McGowan||60-Day DL||Sore right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Strained rib|
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ervin Santana kept the Kansas City Royals in the game, wiggling out of every jam that the Toronto Blue Jays created. Alex Gordon made all the work pay off.
The hot-hitting Gordon drove home Chris Getz with a single in the ninth inning, and the Royals beat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
"Erv gave us a chance and we just persevered at the end," said Gordon, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a pair of base hits. "It felt good."
Santana pitched eight sharp innings, and Kelvin Herrera (1-0) kept the Blue Jays off the board in the ninth. Toronto brought in Darren Oliver to face three straight left-handed hitters, even though left-handed bats have been 5 for 8 against the reliever this season.
Oliver (0-1) retired Jarrod Dyson to start the ninth, but Getz doubled to right to bring up Gordon, whose single allowed Getz to slide home easily in front of the tag.
"To get a win like that, a walkoff, it's a nice boost of energy," Getz said. "You don't want to get swept, so to scratch out a game like that is nice."
Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain also drove in runs for Kansas City.
Edwin Encarnacion homered and drove in both runs for the Blue Jays, who had won six straight and eight of 10 against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. That included a four-game sweep in their only series in Kansas City last season.
"They're scrappy. They battle you," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The thing that stands out is their defense. They take away hits. In tight ball games, that makes a difference."
The Blue Jays struck in the first inning when Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista delivered back-to-back base hits. Dyson bobbled Bautista's routine single in center, and that sent Cabrera to third base. He scored moments later on Encarnacion's groundout.
Dyson atoned for his miscue with a leadoff triple in the third inning. After Gordon extended his hitting streak a check-swing single that went about 15 feet, Escobar hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field that knotted the game 1-all.
Encarnacion, who'd been 5 for 44 on the season, gave Toronto the lead back in the sixth. He sent the first pitch of the inning skimming over the wall in left field for a homer.
"That's huge," Gibbons said. "That's a good sign for Eddie."
Kansas City matched him in the bottom half, though, when Billy Butler sent a blooper to right field, reached second on a two-out single by Eric Hosmer , and then managed to chug home on Cain's base hit to left field - the big DH looked as if he needed oxygen when he got back to the dugout.
The fact that the game was 2-all at that point was a testament to some nice defense.
And some fairly clutch pitching.
Toronto's Brandon Morrow allowed just the two runs in six innings, at one point retiring eight straight batters. He struck out three and only issued an intentional watch.
"I didn't have my best stuff," he said, "but I made a lot of good pitches and kept us in it."
So did Santana, who put the leadoff runner aboard in the second and third innings but got some help from a pair of inning-ending double-plays. Santana also left two stranded in the fifth, thanks to a nice play by Dyson of tracking down Emilio Bonifacio 's fly ball in center field.
His greatest Houdini act may have come in the eighth, when Santana walked Encarnacion to put runners on first and second with two outs. He struck out J.P. Arencibia to escape the inning.
That gave Getz and Gordon the opportunity to win the game.
"I have confidence in my offense," Santana said. "We have a lot of young talent. I know they can get the job done."
NOTES: Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie , who turns 34 on Monday, will start Tuesday's interleague game at Atlanta. Blue Jays RHP Gavin Floyd will start Monday against the White Sox. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (ribs) made a rehab start for Class A Dunedin at 2B on Sunday. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas got the day off from the starting lineup. He was 1 for 17 on the homestand.