May 30,2014(ISN) – TORONTO — The Blue Jays’ high-powered lineup went quiet and left-hander J.A. Happ surrendered a season-high six runs over 7 2/3 innings in a 6-1 loss to the Royals on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Toronto entered the game with the best offense in the Major Leagues at 274 runs scored. It seemed like almost everyone on the roster was finding a way to contribute and the end result was the club scoring at least five runs in 16 games this month.
That production came to an end for at least one night as the Blue Jays had their lowest run total since April 25 vs. the Red Sox. The only other time in May that Toronto scored two runs or fewer came on May 18 in a series finale against the Rangers.
Despite the lack of runs, the offense had plenty of early chances against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. Toronto had a runner in scoring position during each of the first three innings, but each time came away empty handed. That set a trend for the rest of the night as the Blue Jays went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Vargas found himself in several jams but was able to escape every time. The only real mistake he made came in the fourth inning when Jose Bautista went the opposite way with a solo homer to right-center field. Bautista’s 14th of the season was his second in as many games but provided the lone bright spot on offense. Vargas left after six innings having allowed one run on seven hits.
Happ gave the Blue Jays some much-needed innings, but it came in a losing cause. He struggled to keep the ball in the park and had plenty of difficulty with center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a run scored.
Kansas City scored one in the second on an RBI single by Cain and two more in the fourth on a home run by Alex Gordon. Another Royals rally came in the sixth when Gordon drew a one-out walk, stole second and came around to score on another RBI single by Cain. The final blow was Cain’s two-run shot to left in the eighth.
Happ allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out six in his longest outing since April 10, 2011, as a member of the Astros. It marked the second consecutive outing that he went at least seven innings and while the final line wasn’t pretty it did provide some valuable rest to a bullpen that had multiple pitchers unavailable for action.
Toronto has lost two in a row to the Royals after entering the series on a nine-game winning streak. The loss also ensured the Blue Jays won’t win a series for the first time since May 9-11. Toronto can salvage a split by taking the final two games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.