TORONTO -- Even after his team stranded 11 runners and went 2 for 14 with men in scoring position, Royals manager Ned Yost wasn't getting worked up about missed opportunities.
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"I didn't feel like we let one get away, I just feel like we got beat," Yost said.
Kansas City took a 2-0 lead through three innings against Toronto ace Ricky Romero but couldn't manage another hit with runners in scoring position the rest of the way.
"When you jump out in front like we did, you want to win that game," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said.
Still, against the red-hot Romero, any offense was welcomed. The lefty came in with a 5-0 record and 0.89 ERA since July 27, tied for the most wins in the majors while compiling the best ERA in that span.
"We put three runs up on one of the best lefties in the game," Butler said. "You can't really say we didn't try to capitalize on his mistakes. That's just how it is. Even when he's off you're only going to get three and when he's on you're going to get none."
Romero gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. That was as many earned runs as he had allowed in his previous three starts combined. He walked four and struck out three.
"They hit everything I left over the plate," Romero said. "Those mistake pitches, they didn't miss them."
Jesse Litsch (5-3) pitched one scoreless inning of relief for the win. Frank Francisco worked ninth for his 11th save.
Melky Cabrera walked to begin the ninth and, after Butler lined out, stole second. Francisco struck out Eric Hosmer and ended it by getting Jeff Francoeur to line out to right.
Louis Coleman (1-3) took the loss for the Royals, who have not won consecutive games since Aug. 3-4. Kansas City has won four of its past 16.
Lawrie broke a 3-3 tie with a leadoff blast to left in the seventh, his fourth. The rookie third baseman hit an RBI triple in the fourth.
"It's always fun when you get in games where it's close and you can contribute," Lawrie said. "That was a fun game. The pitchers kept us in it and we battled all game."
Romero hit Alex Gordon to begin the first and the Royals outfielder stole second before scoring on Butler's double.
Gordon walked to open the third, moved to second on a grounder and came home on Butler's RBI single.
Toronto scored three runs in the fourth. Yunel Escobar was hit by a pitch from right-hander Luke Hochevar and Bautista responded to an inside pitch by hitting a towering home run off the facing of the third deck in left.
Hochevar insisted he wasn't trying to hit either Escobar or Bautista.
"There's not a rule that says you can't pitch inside," Hochevar said. "If they're going to stand there and stare at me when I come inside that's fine, but I'm going to keep doing it. I'm not out there trying to hit guys or hurt anyone."
Bautista played down the staredown incident, saying he didn't look at Hochevar "for any particular reason."
One out later, Edwin Encarnacion singled and then scored on Lawrie's triple to left-center.
Kansas City tied it when Gordon led off the fifth with a homer to right, his career-high 17th.
Like Romero, Hochevar didn't figure in the decision, allowing three runs and four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Francisco has not allowed a run in a season-high 11 innings. ... Lawrie's triple snapped an 0-for-10 slump. ... With OF Colby Rasmus sidelined by a sore right wrist, Toronto recalled OF Darin Mastroianni from Triple-A Las Vegas and then he made his major league debut in CF. He went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice. ... 2B Kelly Johnson, acquired in Tuesday's trade with Arizona, did not join the Blue Jays on Wednesday. He is expected to arrive in time to start Thursday. ... Kansas City LHP Jeff Francis (4-14) faces Toronto LHP Brett Cecil (4-6) in Thursday's series finale.