KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Alex Gordon drove home Chris Getz with a single in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.
The Royals played from behind nearly the entire way but broke through when Getz doubled off Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver (0-1) with one out in the ninth. Gordon swatted the first pitch he saw from Oliver into the outfield, and Getz slid home easily ahead of the tag.
Kelvin Herrera (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the Royals, who got eight strong innings from Ervin Santana to remain within striking distance.
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.
The Blue Jays struck in the first inning when Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista delivered back-to-back base hits. Jarrod Dyson bobbled Bautista's routine single in center, and that sent Cabrera to third base. He scored moments later on Encarnacion's ground out.
Dyson atoned for his bobble with a leadoff triple in the third inning. After Gordon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with 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 gave Toronto the lead back in the sixth, sending the first pitch of the inning skimming over the wall in left field for a homer.
Kansas City matched him in the bottom half when Billy Butler sent a blooper to right field, who then advanced to second base on a two-out single by Eric Hosmer. Butler then managed to chug home on Cain's base hit to left field — the big designated hitter looking 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.
Santana put the leadoff runner aboard in the second and third innings but got some help from a pair of inning-ending double-plays. He 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.
Toronto's Brandon Morrow didn't have nearly as much trouble, retiring eight straight at one point. He wound up striking out three and issuing only an intentional walk in six innings.