KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Ricky Romero's one bad inning wasn't really all that bad.
Romero gave up three runs on four hits in the third inning and that was enough for the Kansas City Royals to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Thursday to earn a split in the four-game series.
The Royals' three-run third also included Matt Treanor's being hit by a pitch and a Jose Bautista throwing error. None of the Royals' hits was hard. Alcides Escobar had a leadoff infield single and Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur singled to right.
``They bunched their hits together,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ``We have an overthrow that gives them an extra base. Still, Ricky minimized it to three and seemed to get in a very good groove and became much more efficient with his overall pitch mix and pitched a very good game. Most days that's good enough for a win, but (not) today.'
Romero said the only pitch he would want back that inning was a 2-2 cutter that hit Treanor.
``Other than that, I made my pitches,' Romero said. ``I hit my spots every time that inning. They got the bloop singles. There's nothing I can do. That's baseball. When it's not going our way, it's not going our way. That was the case today.'
Romero (5-6) went the distance and has a 3.18 ERA, allowing three runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batters in eight innings to take the loss.
``I hate losing, bottom line, if I got beat by 10 run or one run,' Romero said. ``I have heart. I take a lot of pride in that. It's unfortunate we lost. It stinks.'
The Blue Jays stranded five runners in the final two innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the ninth off Joakim Soria.
``We still created a couple of legitimate scoring opportunities in the last two innings, yet the one hit was elusive,' Farrell said. ``We still created a couple of legitimate scoring opportunities in the last two innings, yet the one hit was elusive.'
Francoeur drove in two runs, helping Luke Hochevar win for the first time in seven starts. Soria, reclaiming the closer role he lost May 30 after back-to-back blown saves, got his eighth save in 13 opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion and Juan Rivera hit one-out singles off the two-time All-Star, then Mike McCoy, after being down 0-2, drew his fourth walk of the day to load the bases with two out. But Soria got Corey Patterson on an infield popup, giving the Royals their fifth win in 19 games.
Hochevar (4-6) allowed two runs in the fourth but nothing else in seven innings. The right-hander gave up six hits, walked three and struck out three for his first win in seven starts since May 1. He did not give up a home run for the fourth straight start after allowing 13 in his first 10 outings.
The Royals completed a season-high 11-game homestand with a 4-7 record and kept the Blue Jays from winning a series in Kansas City for the first time since 2003.
In the Blue Jays' second, Bautista reached on a fielder's choice, Adam Lind singled and J.P. Arencibia tripled into left field. Mitch Maier made a leap for the ball, but it hit the wall and bounced back toward center field as Lind and Bautista scored.
Aaron Hill walked, but Hochevar retired Encarnacion on a fly ball to end the inning.
The Blue Jays had runners at second and third with two out in the eighth. but Aaron Crow coaxed a grounder out of Arencibia.
Lind was 3 for 4, all singles, while Mike McCoy tied a Blue Jays record by walking four times.
NOTES: Bautista, who has not homered in 11 games, has reached safely in 52 of his 55 games. ... Maier started in left field and led off for the Royals for the first time this year. ... Royals have played 16 games in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. ... Mike Aviles was caught too far off first base in the second inning and thrown out by Romero. ... A victory would have put Toronto three games over .500 for the first time since April 8.
The Associated Press News Service
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