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Ninth inning rally falls short, Royals lose 5-4 in Toronto

A check swing call turns out to be pivotal.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals scored a run in the ninth, but fell just short of tying it as they left two runners on in the ninth in a 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays Friday night.

Collin Snider was the opener for the Royals and pitched well with two scoreless innings and just one walk with three strikeouts. Dairon Blanco put the Royals on the board with a solo home run in the third inning off Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi, his second of the year.

Alec Marsh entered the game in the third and cruised through three innings before encountering trouble in the sixth. Kevin Kiermaier led off with a triple and scored when Bo Bichette, just off the Injured List, doubled him home to tie the game. Marsh then loaded the bases on a pair of walks, but struck out Whit Merrifield to end the threat.

The Royals got that run back in the seventh when Nick Loftin hit the first triple of his MLB career to drive home Freddy Fermin. Austin Cox came in the game in the seventh and with one out, Alejandro Kirk hit a comebacker that ricocheted off Cox’s foot to first baseman Salvador Perez. Cox ran to cover the bag but appeared to injure his left leg doing so, falling to the ground in pain.

Carlos Hernandez was brought in to replace him and appeared to get out of it with a strikeout by George Springer. But Springer was ruled to have checked his swing and the at-bat continued, ending in a walk. That opened the floodgates for the Blue Jays as Bo Bichette singled home a run, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled home two more, and Ernie Clement drove home Guerrero to make it a four-run inning that left it 5-2.

The Royals clawed back a bit in the eighth when Bobby Witt Jr. doubled, moved to third on a single by Salvy, and scored on a ground ball by Edward Olivares. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano had converted 32 of 32 saves opportunities going into the game, but he had trouble in the ninth, walking Kyle Isbel and Maikel Garcia and recording just one out. Bobby Witt Jr. flied out, but Salvy was able to knock home a run on a single. That left two on for Edward Olivares who battled with two strikes and laced a solid line drive to right center, but it hung up long enough for Kevin Kiermaier to make the catch.

Royals hitters struck out 13 times but did draw six walks and had a chance til the end. Salvador Perez went 3-for-5, Freddy Fermin had a pair of hits, and Kyle Isbel drew a pair of walks. The Royals fall to 44-98 and can try to even the series tomorrow afternoon at 2:07 CT.