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Kansas City at Toronto

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Kansas City (21-28)000000000071
Toronto (26-25) «40000110x680

Litsch shuts down slumping Royals for first career shutout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Just like Roy Halladay the previous night, Jesse Litsch threw a complete game to beat the Kansas City Royals.

Making his 29th career start, Litsch pitched a seven-hitter for his first complete game, Brad Wilkerson hit a grand slam and the Toronto Blue Jays blanked Kansas City 6-0 on Saturday to extend the Royals' losing streak to a season-high six.

"It's good to be able to go out and finish one and get that first complete game under my belt," said Litsch, whose longest previous start was an 8 2/3 innings effort in his major league debut against Baltimore on May 15 last year.

The Blue Jays (26-25) moved back above .500 for the first time since they were 10-9 on April 20.

Litsch's effort came less than 24 hours after Halladay tossed his major league-leading fifth complete game in Toronto's 7-1 victory Friday.

The back-to-back complete games were Toronto's first since Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar did it against the New York Yankees, April 21-22, 2000.

Litsch (6-1) struck out three, walked one and won his fourth straight decision. He extended his streak of innings without a walk to 38 2/3, three more than Jimmy Key's previous Toronto record in 1990. The streak ended with a base on balls to Mark Teahen with two outs in the ninth.

"I try to pound the zone every time I go out there," Litsch said. "The key to my game is pounding the zone, making contact and using my defense."

Litsch sawed off three bats with his cut fastball, and had to dive for cover when the barrel of Alex Gordon's bat came sailing back toward to mound in the fourth.

"He has good, late effective movement," Royals catcher John Buck said. "We're not the only team that's been having trouble with him."

Kansas City was shut out for the sixth time this season -- tied for second in the major leagues behind Detroit's seven. The Royals have lost seven of eight, including a no-hitter by Boston's Jon Lester on Monday.

"We did a very poor job of working the count," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Litsch is good. His numbers bear that out. He's been a solid pitcher."

Rookie Luke Hochevar (3-4), beaten by Lester in the no-hitter, lost back-to-back starts for the first time this season. Hochevar allowed five runs -- four earned -- six hits and four walks in six innings, and got no help from his offense in overcoming Wilkerson's first-inning slam.

"That was the game," Hochevar said. "When the wind gets taken out of our sails early on like that, that puts us in a hole and it's tough to come back out of it. I made a mistake and I paid for it."

Toronto's Lyle Overbay drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, tying Tony Fernandez's team record by reaching base in 11 consecutive plate appearances. Overbay has six hits, five walks and three RBI in the streak.

"I feel like I'm seeing the ball well," Overbay said. "I'm not expanding the zone too much."

Shannon Stewart led off the first with a single but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Aaron Hill's double to left, with shortstop Tony Pena Jr. making the relay on David DeJesus' throw.

After Alex Rios struck out, Scott Rolen walked, Overbay reached on an infield single, and Wilkerson hit his second homer of the season, his fifth career grand slam.

"I got in a good hitter's count by being patient," Wilkerson said. "He gave me a good pitch, got it up over the middle of the plate. I tried not to do too much and drove the ball out."

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Wilkerson popped out to shortstop against Ramon Ramirez.

Rolen singled and scored on second baseman Mark Grudzielanek's fielding error in the sixth.

Notes

  • Toronto OF Vernon Wells, who broke his left wrist making a diving catch in Cleveland on May 9, shagged fly balls before the game and will leave Monday for a rehab stint in Florida. Wells is expected back in late June or early July.
  • Toronto DH Matt Stairs (stiff neck) missed his third straight game.
  • With two more day games in the next two days, Hillman plans to rest Grudzielanek once in that span.
  • Litsch's ninth-inning base on balls was his first since walking Tampa Bay's Nathan Hayes on April 22, his only defeat this season.
  • Toronto is 11-1 in day games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jesse Litsch extends his streak of innings without a walk to 38 2/3, setting a team mark.  (AP)
Jesse Litsch extends his streak of innings without a walk to 38 2/3, setting a team mark. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

B. Wilkerson
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Toronto

J. Litsch
IP 9.0
H 7
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
 
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF4010001 .282
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4020001 .300
Alex Gordon, 3B4000023 .282
Jose Guillen, DH4010002 .253
Mark Teahen, RF3000111 .243
Billy Butler, 1B4010002 .262
John Buck, C3010002 .250
Tony Pena, SS3000003 .162
Joey Gathright, CF3010001 .254
Totals3207013  
Batting
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (11, Litsch), John Buck (6, Litsch)
CS - David DeJesus (4, 2nd base by Litsch/Zaun)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - David DeJesus 1
DP - Grudzielanek-Pena-Butler
E - Mark Grudzielanek (3, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
Luke Hochevar (L,3-4) 6654441 4.54
Yasuhiko Yabuta0111200 6.30
Ramon Ramirez 1000100 1.77
Leo Nunez 1100100 1.37
HBP - Stewart (by Luke Hochevar)
WP - Luke Hochevar (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 108-62, Yasuhiko Yabuta 15-6, Ramon Ramirez 15-8, Leo Nunez 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 7-5, Ramon Ramirez 1-2, Leo Nunez 1-2
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 27, Yasuhiko Yabuta 3, Ramon Ramirez 4, Leo Nunez 5
Toronto Blue Jays
Shannon Stewart, DH2110200 .258
Aaron Hill, 2B5120003 .272
Alex Rios, CF4000123 .258
Scott Rolen, 3B2210203 .306
Lyle Overbay, 1B1111300 .292
Brad Wilkerson, RF4114016 .208
Marco Scutaro, SS4000005 .262
Gregg Zaun, C4010010 .254
Joe Inglett, LF4010002 .288
Totals3068584  
Batting
2B - Aaron Hill (14, Hochevar)
3B - Joe Inglett (3, Nunez)
HR - Brad Wilkerson (2, Hochevar)
RBI - Lyle Overbay (17), Brad Wilkerson 4 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Brad Wilkerson 4 (9)
SB - Scott Rolen (3, 2nd base off Hochevar/Buck)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Zaun-Scutaro, Hill-Scutaro-Overbay
Toronto Blue Jays
Jesse Litsch (W,6-1) 9700130 3.57
WP - Jesse Litsch (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jesse Litsch 103-65
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jesse Litsch 13-9
Batters Faced - Jesse Litsch 33
Game Information
Attendance - 28162
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Scott Barry