Kansas City Royals

Gordon's HR in 10th rescues Royals

TORONTO — OK, it was dramatic. It didn't need to be. It probably shouldn't have been. But, hey, the Royals sure needed it.

Alex Gordon's two-out homer in the 10th inning Wednesday afternoon rescued the Royals in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

It did, to be precise, after Joakim Soria set down the Jays in their half of the 10th for his fourth save.

And if the Royals needed something good collectively, perhaps nobody needed something good personally more than Gordon, whose time in the big leagues might hinge on his production while Chris Getz recovers from a strained right oblique.

Gordon had struck out twice in three at-bats prior to his homer. In the seventh inning, before grounding out weakly to second, he waved helplessly at a Shaun Marcum changeup on a hit-and-run play that resulted in Jason Kendall being thrown out at second.

Throw in a two-base error wild throw on a routine grounder to third base in the fourth inning and, well, let Gordon tell you.

"It was absolutely a horrible game on my part," he said, "until the 10th inning. That swinging and missing. I had no bounce at the plate. Making an error. So it felt good to put one into the seats in extra innings."

Gordon's drive to deep center against Scott Downs carried beyond a retreating Vernon Wells in center field.

"I didn't know (it was out)," Gordon admitted. "I just saw (Wells) keep creeping back, and I was saying, 'Go-go-go-go-go-go' when I was running."

The homer provided the Royals with an escape hatch from a potentially crushing loss.

Consider: Jose Guillen's three-run homer in the first inning provided Zack Greinke with an early cushion but still wasn't enough for the reigning Cy Young winner to get his first victory.

Oh, Greinke was good. He allowed just two runs in seventh innings, both coming on a homer in the fourth inning by Alex Gonzalez.

Toronto pulled even in the eighth against relievers Josh Rupe and John Parrish. But Robinson Tejeda, 1-1, breezed through a one-two-three ninth inning with two strikeouts and got the victory when Gordon unloaded against Downs.

"That would have put a real bad taste in our mouths," manager Trey Hillman said, "if we hadn't found a way to come back and get that one."

The Royals won for just the fifth time in their last 24 games at the Rogers Centre. They also avoided a three-game sweep and salvaged a 4-5 record on a nine-game trip that began with stops in Detroit and Minnesota.

Soria's 1-2-3 10th produced his fourth save in five opportunities. It was also the 93rd save of his career, which places him in a tie with Aurelio Lopez for the most saves in major-league history by a Mexican-born player.

Greinke didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning and only two in his seven innings. Unfortunately, that first hit was Gonzalez's two-run homer, which turned a three-run lead into 3-2.

"It was not quite high enough and not quite in enough," Greinke said. "It was close to a good pitch, but it wasn't (a good pitch)."

Rupe inherited that one-run lead starting the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Jose(acu) Molina. John McDonald's sacrifice moved pinch-runner Mike McCoy to second before Hillman called on Parrish for a lefty-lefty matchup against Fred Lewis.

Parrish got a ground ball, but second baseman Alberto Callaspo couldn't handle it. The ball caromed off Callaspo's glove into short right field for a game-tying RBI single.

Greinke struck out eight and walked one in throwing a season-high 109 pitches. He lowered his ERA to 3.28. All he got was a no-decision.

Marcum, an Excelsior Springs native, also got a no-decision after recovering nicely from Guillen's homer. He allowed nothing more before departing after seven innings. He struck out six and walked one.

Casey Janssen retired five straight hitters before leaving after Callaspo's two-out single in the ninth. Downs, 0-1, ended the inning by picking off Callaspo and retired two hitters in the 10th before allowing Gordon's homer.

That pickoff wasn't the Royals' only base-running out. They also spiked two of their limited scoring opportunities when runners were thrown out while trying to steal second. Those two caught-stealings matched their previous season total in 19 attempts.

Gordon's homer let them off the hook.