KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals acquired James Shields to anchor their rotation. Even aces need run support.
Shields pitched a two-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night but gave up a two-run homer to Jose Bautista and lost 3-2.
``He pitched a great game,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``He threw 115 pitches and if he had to take any one back, it would be the curveball to Bautista. Bautista's a strong guy and he got it out. The one pitch made the difference.'
After finding out star shortstop Jose Reyes probably will be sidelined until the All-Star break, R.A. Dickey (1-2) allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings.
``We never could muster a consistent attack against Dickey,' Yost said. ``His knuckler was really dancing. We never could get any consistent momentum.'
Coming in, Toronto's revamped rotation had a 7.55 ERA and J.A. Happ (2-4) was the only Blue Jays starter to win.
Dickey, the NL Cy Young Award winner, gave the Blue Jays the type of start they were hoping for when they acquired him from the New York Mets during the offseason.
``It was the first time I ever faced him, the first time I've ever faced any knuckleballer,' said Jarrod Dyson, whose double chased Dickey in the seventh. ``It danced a little but more than I thought it would. It moved around a lot in my third at-bat. I thought oh, my goodness.'
Dickey struck out four, walked two and hit a batter, throwing 64 of 100 pitches for strikes. After Darren Oliver relieved, Dyson stole third and scored on Chris Getz's bunt single.
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his third save in as many chances, allowing a two-out single to Getz, who took second on defensive indifference and scored on Alex Gordon's single. Alex Escobar followed with a game-ending flyout.
``It got a little hairy at the end, but Janssen got it done,' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ``You don't win too many games when you get two hits, but homers win.'
Toronto went ahead when Macier Izturis doubled leading off the third, advanced on Henry Blanco's groundout and scored a sacrifice fly by Munenori Kawasaki, called up from the minors after Reyes severely sprained his left ankle on an awkward slide.
Kawasaki walked leading off the sixth and scored on Bautista's third home run of the season, a two-out drive. Kawasaki, who batted ninth and played shortstop, hit .295 in six seasons with Fukuoka in Japan's Pacific League, but just .192 with a .202 slugging percentage with one extra-base hit in 104 at_bats last season with Seattle.
Shields (1-2) finished with six strikeouts and three walks. Wasn't good enough.
``That can happen when you're facing Dickey,' Shields said. ``He was pretty good. I made two bad mistakes that costs us tonight. The pitch to Bautista, I was trying to get the ball down and it stayed up. And the leadoff walk. That's not acceptable, walking the leadoff hitter. It was a good battle with Dickey and, unfortunately, he won it.'
NOTES: Royals 1B Eric Hosmer has tightness in his right quadriceps and did not start for the second straight night. ... Emilo Bonifacio, who started eight games at second base and batted ninth in eight games, played right field for the first time since Sept. 15, 2011, and batted leadoff. Bautista started at third base for the first time since Aug. 4, 2011. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas is hitless in 13 at_bats, dropping his average to .158.
The Associated Press News Service
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