Apr 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) celebrates with right fielder Jose Bautista (19) after scoring on a wild pitch by Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (not shown) in the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The weather in Kansas City did not necessarily make for the best baseball conditions when the Blue Jays took on the Royals. It was cold and damp, and the field was sloppy for it.
And it still wasn’t enough to stop the hottest hitter in a Blue Jays uniform, Melky Cabrera. It also failed to douse the fire in the Blue Jays bullpen, in what at one point looked like a sure win but ended in a 10-7 Blue Jays loss.
Cabrera entered the game in a tie with Shannon Stewart and Shea Hillenbrand with 39 base knocks in March/April. It took until his third at-bat of the game to do it, but Melky lined a triple over the head of Nori Aoki in the top of the 5th to get the new mark at 40. The hit tied the game at two and the Blue Jays would take the lead when a passed ball with Jose Bautista at the plate allowed Cabrera to trot home with the go-ahead run. Cabrera added an RBI double in the seventh for his 41st hit of the month, and gave the Blue Jays a 5-2 lead.
The 41 hits in April are a career-high for Cabrera as well, but they are not his single-month high. That came in May of 2012, when he had 52 hits for the Giants, a season in which he was an All-Star and had 159 hits before ending the season in August. Of course, his season ended early that year due to a steroid suspension, but the hit rate should be noted nonetheless.
Of course, Cabrera wasn’t the only person playing for something on Tuesday, Dustin McGowan was playing for his spot in the rotation. With the worry of Marcus Stroman lingering in the shadows, Dustin McGowan set about his business and despite a tough second inning where he allowed two runs and threw 33 pitches, he rebounded nicely, tossing 6 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned), 3 hits, 3 walks while striking out a pair of strike-outs.
McGowan came out for the seventh, after the Jays opened a 5-2 lead, but left after giving up a lead-off double to Alex Gordon. That extra cushion turned out to be important, as Salvador Perez greeted Steve Delabar with a 2-run home run and cut the lead to 5-4. A two-out walk to Jarrod Dyson ended Delabar’s night and called on Brett Cecil who, after walking Aoki, gets Infante to ground-out to third to end the scare.
The Blue Jays bullpen struggles continued in the 8th, when Cecil ran into trouble and gave way to Sergio Santos. Santos coughed up a 2-run double to Perez, who gave the Royals 6-5 lead. Santos continued to struggle, recording just one out and surrendering an RBI single to Jarrod Dyson to give KC a 2-run lead later in the inning, leading to an Esmil Rogers siting. The rout was on from there, as Rogers handed off a couple of RBI singles himself and when the bottom of the eighth finally ended, the Royals lead 10-5.
Aside from the moments for Cabrera and a decent rebound for McGowan, the Blue Jays also received multi-hit nights from Jose Reyes, Colby Rasmus, Dioner Navarro, and Brett Lawrie. Jose Bautista also added his 8th home run and Edwin Encarnacion tapped into his power again for his second of the season.
However, this game will be remembered for what has become a calling card of the Blue Jays season, the bullpen meltdown. With McGowan actually pitching into the 7th, the Jays proceeded to use four relievers and allow 7 runs, 8 hits, and 2 walks over 2 innings of work. Ultimately, that lead to the Blue Jays losing this game 10-7.