Vargas earns 11th win as Royals top Blue Jays 3-2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Jason Vargas missed most of last season after having elbow surgery in 2015. This year he is a candidate to be the AL All-Star Game starter.

Vargas earned his major league-leading 11th victory, pitching seven efficient innings to lead the surging Kansas City Royals over the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 Saturday.

The Royals won for the 11th time in 13 games and moved over .500 for the first time this season at 37-36.

''The pitching has been great, and we've got some timely hitting,'' said Eric Hosmer, who homered in the fourth. ''We're definitely in synch as a team right now.''

Vargas (11-3) allowed two runs on eight hits, walked none and struck out two. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was set to try for his 11th win later Saturday against Colorado.

''It was a great day because we came out with a `W,''' Vargas said. ''I felt like in those middle innings we got into a nice rhythm and had some nice plays made for us and got us out of a couple of innings.''

Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Pillar homered off Vargas.

''I know Jason really well,'' Tulowitzki said. ''I went to college with him. It's funny because he used to be a power guy, throw real hard. Now he's finesse. But he knows how to pitch, bottom line. He gets himself better each and every year. Other than today, I've been happy for him, honestly, just because he's a good friend and someone that really loves the game.''

Pillar's home run tied the game at 2.

''The fellows came back and picked me up after I gave up that home run in the seventh,'' Vargas said.

Alcides Escobar had three hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead run in the seventh. He singled with one out and scored on Alex Gordon's triple down the right-field line off Marco Estrada (4-6).

After Joakim Soria struck out two in the eighth, Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances.

Escobar tripled in the third when Blue Jays outfielders Jose Bautista and Pillar collided in right-center chasing the flyball. Escobar scored on Whit Merrifield's sacrifice fly, which was not deep. He slid in ahead of left-fielder Steve Pearce's throw.

''In that situation that's a short fly ball to left field,'' Escobar said. ''Rusty (Kuntz, Royals base running coach) knows every outfielder and (said) if the ball is hit to left field, run. This guy is like a regular arm. He doesn't throw too hard.''

The Blue Jays challenged the safe call at home, but it was upheld.

''I got my foot down before the tag,'' Escobar said.

Estrada gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked four. He lost his fourth straight start but had failed to make it out of the fourth innings in two of those.

''I've had really rough outings lately,'' Estrada said. ''Sometimes it's hard to get out of that. Put things in your head that you're not supposed to. Today, I just let it all go, you know. `You're better than this' and make pitches and stop worrying about everything. Things went a lot better. It's still frustrating, some of those hits they got.''

WALKING MAN

Royals rookie Jorge Bonifacio walked in his first three plate appearances.

GOOD JUNE

The Royals clinched their fifth straight series win. They are 6-0-1 in the past seven series. They are an American League best 15-6 in June.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (broken nail on middle finger) will throw a minor league rehab game Tuesday for Class A Dunedin. ... Pearce returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bruised right knee. He went hitless in three at-bats, snapping his season-high eight-game hitting streak.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Francisco Liriano, who is 3-3 with a 5.76 ERA, will make his 12th start.

Royals: RHP Jason Hammel, who is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA since May 20, will start the series finale.

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
Blue JaysTOR35-39
010000100290
RoyalsKC37-36
00110010X350
  • W: J. Vargas (11-3)L: M. Estrada (4-6)S: K. Herrera (18)
  • HR: TOR - T. Tulowitzki (3), K. Pillar (9), KC - E. Hosmer (9)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Bautista RF40100012.230.342.405.7470.5
R. Martin 3B40000011.221.375.390.765-0.5
J. Donaldson DH40100001.281.379.537.9162.0
J. Smoak 1B40100001.305.366.593.9601.0
S. Pearce LF30000011.252.297.447.744-0.5
a- K. Morales PH10000010.267.315.489.803-0.5
T. Tulowitzki SS41211001.241.297.359.6567.0
I. Parmley PR0000-000.000.000.000.000-
K. Pillar CF41211001.253.307.414.7217.0
D. Barney 2B30200010.233.271.308.5801.5
L. Maile C30000003.122.158.200.3580.0
  • a-struck out for Pearce in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
W. Merrifield 2B20010101.288.330.452.7822.0
J. Bonifacio RF10000302.245.313.447.7593.0
L. Cain CF40000016.277.353.453.807-0.5
E. Hosmer 1B41111001.300.357.466.8236.0
S. Perez C40000010.290.322.528.850-0.5
M. Moustakas 3B40000010.268.305.532.837-0.5
B. Moss DH30000020.184.261.380.641-1.0
A. Escobar SS32300000.209.229.277.5067.0
A. Gordon LF30110012.191.295.280.5753.5
    BATTING
    • 2B - J. Donaldson (7)
    • HR - T. Tulowitzki (3), K. Pillar (9)
    • RBI - T. Tulowitzki (17), K. Pillar (19)
    • 2-Out RBI - K. Pillar (7)
    BATTING
    • 3B - A. Escobar, A. Gordon
    • HR - E. Hosmer (9)
    • SF - W. Merrifield (4)
    • RBI - W. Merrifield (29), E. Hosmer (31), A. Gordon (15)
    FIELDING
    • DP - A. Escobar, W. Merrifield, E. Hosmer
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    M. Estrada (L, 4-6)7.05334614.891.3810.0
    J. Beliveau1.00000004.320.963.0
    PITCHERSIP
    M. Estrada (L, 4-6)7.0
    J. Beliveau1.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Vargas (W, 11-3)7.08220222.291.1322.0
    J. Soria (H, 11)1.00000203.771.454.0
    K. Herrera (S, 18)1.01000104.351.239.5
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Vargas (W, 11-3)7.0
    J. Soria (H, 11)1.0
    K. Herrera (S, 18)1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - M. Estrada 117-77, J. Beliveau 9-7
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Estrada 4-11, J. Beliveau 2-1
    • Batters Faced - M. Estrada 30, J. Beliveau 3
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Vargas 98-69, J. Soria 11-7, K. Herrera 17-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Vargas 9-8, J. Soria 1-0, K. Herrera 1-1
    • Batters Faced - J. Vargas 27, J. Soria 3, K. Herrera 4
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    Blue JaysTOR35-39
    010000100290
    RoyalsKC37-36
    00110010X350
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    J. Bautista RF40100012.230.342.405.7470.5
    R. Martin 3B40000011.221.375.390.765-0.5
    J. Donaldson DH40100001.281.379.537.9162.0
    J. Smoak 1B40100001.305.366.593.9601.0
    S. Pearce LF30000011.252.297.447.744-0.5
    a- K. Morales PH10000010.267.315.489.803-0.5
    T. Tulowitzki SS41211001.241.297.359.6567.0
    I. Parmley PR0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    K. Pillar CF41211001.253.307.414.7217.0
    D. Barney 2B30200010.233.271.308.5801.5
    L. Maile C30000003.122.158.200.3580.0
    Total3429220511-----
    • a-struck out for Pearce in the 9th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    W. Merrifield 2B20010101.288.330.452.7822.0
    J. Bonifacio RF10000302.245.313.447.7593.0
    L. Cain CF40000016.277.353.453.807-0.5
    E. Hosmer 1B41111001.300.357.466.8236.0
    S. Perez C40000010.290.322.528.850-0.5
    M. Moustakas 3B40000010.268.305.532.837-0.5
    B. Moss DH30000020.184.261.380.641-1.0
    A. Escobar SS32300000.209.229.277.5067.0
    A. Gordon LF30110012.191.295.280.5753.5
    Total2835314612-----
      BATTING
      • 2B - J. Donaldson (7)
      • HR - T. Tulowitzki (3), K. Pillar (9)
      • RBI - T. Tulowitzki (17), K. Pillar (19)
      • 2-Out RBI - K. Pillar (7)
      BATTING
      • 3B - A. Escobar, A. Gordon
      • HR - E. Hosmer (9)
      • SF - W. Merrifield (4)
      • RBI - W. Merrifield (29), E. Hosmer (31), A. Gordon (15)
      FIELDING
      • DP - A. Escobar, W. Merrifield, E. Hosmer
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      M. Estrada (L, 4-6)7.05334614.891.3810.0
      J. Beliveau1.00000004.320.963.0
      Total8.0533461---
      PITCHERSIP
      M. Estrada (L, 4-6)7.0
      J. Beliveau1.0
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Vargas (W, 11-3)7.08220222.291.1322.0
      J. Soria (H, 11)1.00000203.771.454.0
      K. Herrera (S, 18)1.01000104.351.239.5
      Total9.0922052---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Vargas (W, 11-3)7.0
      J. Soria (H, 11)1.0
      K. Herrera (S, 18)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - M. Estrada 117-77, J. Beliveau 9-7
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Estrada 4-11, J. Beliveau 2-1
      • Batters Faced - M. Estrada 30, J. Beliveau 3
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Vargas 98-69, J. Soria 11-7, K. Herrera 17-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Vargas 9-8, J. Soria 1-0, K. Herrera 1-1
      • Batters Faced - J. Vargas 27, J. Soria 3, K. Herrera 4
      • 7TH INNING
        Gordon tripled to deep right, Escobar scored23
        Pillar homered to left center22
      • 4TH INNING
        Hosmer homered to right center12
      • 3RD INNING
        Merrifield hit sacrifice fly to left, Escobar scored11
      • 2ND INNING
        Tulowitzki homered to left center10
      • 9TH INNING
        • Kelvin Herrera relieved Joakim Soria
        • J. Smoak: Foul, Ball, Smoak flied out to left
        • Kendrys Morales hit for Steve Pearce
        • K. Morales: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Morales struck out swinging
        • T. Tulowitzki: Strike looking, Tulowitzki singled to right center
        • Ian Parmley ran for Troy Tulowitzki
        • K. Pillar: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Pillar grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Joakim Soria relieved Jason Vargas
        • J. Bautista: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Bautista struck out swinging
        • R. Martin: Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Martin struck out swinging
        • J. Donaldson: Donaldson grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Jeff Beliveau relieved Marco Estrada
        • E. Hosmer: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Hosmer grounded out to second
        • S. Perez: Ball, Perez flied out to deep center
        • M. Moustakas: Moustakas grounded out to shortstop
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • S. Pearce: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Pearce struck out looking
        • T. Tulowitzki: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Tulowitzki grounded out to shortstop
        • K. Pillar: Strike looking, Pillar homered to left center
        • D. Barney: Strike looking, Strike looking, Barney singled to right
        • L. Maile: Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Maile flied out to left
        • Middle of the 7th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • B. Moss: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Moss struck out swinging
        • A. Escobar: Foul, Ball, Foul, Escobar singled to shallow left
        • A. Gordon: Pickoff attempt, Foul, Gordon tripled to deep right, Escobar scored
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Merrifield walked
        • J. Bonifacio: Ball, Pickoff attempt to first, Pickoff attempt to first, Foul, Ball, Bonifacio popped out to shortstop
        • L. Cain: Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Cain grounded out to shortstop
        • End of the 7th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • R. Martin: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Martin lined out to pitcher
        • J. Donaldson: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Donaldson grounded out to shortstop
        • J. Smoak: Strike looking, Smoak flied out to right
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • E. Hosmer: Strike looking, Hosmer grounded out to second
        • S. Perez: Perez fouled out to third
        • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Moustakas struck out on foul tip
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • K. Pillar: Strike looking, Foul, Pillar singled to left
        • D. Barney: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Barney singled to shallow right, Pillar to second
        • L. Maile: Maile fouled out to catcher
        • J. Bautista: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bautista grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Barney out at second
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • A. Escobar: Escobar singled to shallow center
        • A. Gordon: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
        • W. Merrifield: Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Merrifield flied out to right
        • J. Bonifacio: Ball, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Bonifacio walked, Escobar to second
        • L. Cain: Ball, Cain fouled out to catcher
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • J. Smoak: Ball, Ball, Smoak singled to shallow center
        • S. Pearce: Strike looking, Ball, Pearce reached on fielder's choice to second, Smoak out at second
        • T. Tulowitzki: Tulowitzki grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Pearce out at second
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • E. Hosmer: Ball, Hosmer homered to right center
        • S. Perez: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Perez struck out swinging
        • M. Moustakas: Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Moustakas lined out to left
        • B. Moss: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Moss struck out swinging
        • End of the 4th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • L. Maile: Maile grounded out to second
        • J. Bautista: Ball, Strike looking, Bautista singled to center
        • R. Martin: Strike looking, Martin popped out to second
        • J. Donaldson: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Donaldson grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Escobar tripled to deep right center
        • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Gordon fouled out to third
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Merrifield hit sacrifice fly to left, Escobar scored
        • J. Bonifacio: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Bonifacio walked
        • L. Cain: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Cain struck out on foul tip
        • End of the 3rd (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • S. Pearce: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Pearce grounded out to shortstop
        • T. Tulowitzki: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Tulowitzki homered to left center
        • K. Pillar: Strike looking, Pillar grounded out to third
        • D. Barney: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Barney struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 2nd (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • S. Perez: Ball, Perez grounded out to shortstop
        • M. Moustakas: Foul, Strike swinging, Moustakas grounded out to second
        • B. Moss: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Moss popped out to shortstop
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Vargas Pitching:
        • J. Bautista: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Bautista popped out to shortstop
        • R. Martin: Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Martin lined out to third
        • J. Donaldson: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Donaldson doubled to deep left
        • J. Smoak: Smoak lined out to left
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • M. Estrada Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Merrifield fouled out to catcher
        • J. Bonifacio: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Bonifacio walked
        • L. Cain: Cain flied out to deep center
        • E. Hosmer: Hosmer flied out to left
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)