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Royals nudge Blue Jays, 1-0

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A 1-0 win in Toronto? Well...ok!

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Two years ago when these teams lit up the scoreboard in the ALCS, imagine being told that you would one day watch the Royals beat the Blue Jays 1-0.

The Royals did just that on Thursday night, winning their second straight game in Toronto. To put that in perspective, they had gone 1-8 in their last nine regular season contests north of the border before winning yesterday and once again today.

Jason Vargas was spectacular in blanking the Blue Jays, firing 6.1 scoreless innings to pick up his AL-leading 17th win of the season. That’s the most wins by a Royals pitcher since Paul Byrd won 17 in 2002. It was his best outing of the second half - by far. He struck out seven batters, walked three, and allowed two hits.

The only run in the game was provided by Melky Cabrera, who drove in Alex Gordon on a third-inning RBI single with two outs. The Royals managed eight hits on the night, with seven of them coming against Toronto starter J.A. Happ. He pitched well, allowing just one run in 6.2 innings of work.

The Royals’ bullpen got the final eight outs of the evening without allowing a hit. Peter Moylan and Ryan Buchter combined to close out the seventh. Joakim Soria looked fantastic in a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out two of the three men he faced in a 15-pitch outing.

And then it was Mike Minor, not Kelvin Herrera, who closed out the night with his second save of the year. He went right through the heart of Toronto’s order, retiring Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak, and Jose Bautista on six pitches.

As a staff, the Royals allowed just two hits all night.

I’m looking through the box score trying to find offensive highlights. Melky Cabrera had three hits. Sal Perez had two. Alex Gordon walked twice. There wasn’t much offense. There was just enough.

Vargas, 17-10, earned the win to tie him with Corey Kluber and Chris Sale atop the AL leaderboard. You may have heard of those guys. Happ (9-11) was the tough-luck loser. Minor earned save No. 2.

Kansas City is 75-77, somehow and somewhat miraculously still barely alive for a Wild Card spot. They almost definitely need to win eight or nine of their last 10 games to have a chance.

Tomorrow, the Royals will begin their final road series of the season by taking on the White Sox in Chicago. Jason Hammel gets the start.