TORONTO (AP) — With his first home run in almost three weeks, Mike Moustakas bid Steve Balboni “Bye Bye” from his place in the Kansas City Royals’ record book.
Moustakas hit his 37th home run of the season, breaking Balboni’s 1985 record, Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield also connected and the Royals routed the Toronto Blue Jays 15-5 on Wednesday night.
A record 13 different Kansas City players had at least one hit as the Royals collected 18 in total.
Moustakas went 3 for 4 and came within a triple of hitting for the cycle. He eclipsed “Bye Bye” Balboni’s mark with a solo blast to right off Carlos Ramirez in the sixth, his first homer since Sept. 1 at Minnesota.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 21, 2017
“It was a good feeling to see it go over the wall and kind of get that one off my chest,” Moustakas said.
Just as good was the reception Moustakas got when he returned to the Royals dugout.
“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,” Moustakas said. “It’s definitely an awesome feeling and something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”
Royals manager Ned Yost praised Moustakas for his “great accomplishment.”
“It’s been 32 years, I think, if my math is right,” Yost said. “That means that there obviously has been some major degree of difficulty in doing it.”
Merrifield also had three hits and drove in a pair of runs as the Royals snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the second time in their past seven.
Kansas City came within a run of matching its season high. The Royals scored 16 against Detroit twice within a seven-day span in late July.
“They came out swinging and they didn’t miss,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Toronto has allowed 15 or more runs four times this season, matching their total from the previous six seasons combined.
Rookie right-hander Jakob Junis (8-2) allowed four runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.42 ERA over his past eight starts.
“We were able to get some good runs early for him, like we’re supposed to, and he did the rest,” Moustakas said
Leading 1-0, the Royals exploded for eight runs and seven hits in the second, chasing Blue Jays left-hander Brett Anderson and sending 12 batters to the plate. Alcides Escobar had a two-run single, Merrifield hit an RBI single, Eric Hosmer ended Anderson’s night with a two-run double, and Perez greeted reliever Luis Santos with his 26th home run, a two-run drive to left.
Anderson (3-4) left his previous start at Minnesota in the fifth after being bothered by a blister on his index finger. Against the Royals, he allowed eight runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings. Anderson was caught by TV cameras ripping his cap apart as he sat in the dugout after coming out of the game.
“I think there’s parts of it left in the dugout if you guys want some souvenirs,” Anderson quipped.
Kansas City added four more against Ramirez in the sixth, snapping the rookie’s streak of 47 2/3 scoreless innings in the minors and majors. A converted outfielder, Ramirez had pitched 10 shutout innings to begin his big league career.
“It’s a heck of a feat,” Gibbons said. “He’s got something. He’s really shown us a lot.”
Merrifield ended the streak with a leadoff homer, his 18th, Cabrera hit an RBI double, Perez drove in a run with a groundout and Moustakas added a two-out homer.
Raffy Lopez homered in the ninth for the Blue Jays.
ESTRADA SIGNS FOR 2018
RHP Marco Estrada signed a one-year, $13 million deal to remain with Toronto in 2018. Estrada is 9-8 with a 4.84 ERA in 31 starts this season, his third with the Blue Jays.
With a crowd of 33,050, the Blue Jays became the first AL team to break the 3 million mark in attendance this season. It’s the second year in a row and seventh time overall that Toronto has drawn 3 million.
Royals: Perez took a foul ball off his left elbow in the bottom of the seventh. Perez finished the inning but was replaced by pinch hitter Drew Butera in the eighth.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (16-10, 4.19) pitched five innings to beat the Indians in his previous start as Kansas City snapped Cleveland’s 22-game winning streak.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (9-10, 3.76) is 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three September starts.
IAN HARRISON, Associated Press