TORONTO (AP) Marcus Stroman made sure he didn’t have to wait any longer for his career-high 12th victory.
Stroman pitched seven innings to win for the first time in six starts, Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night.
”It all started with Stroman,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ”He did a heck of a job. Seven strong innings in a tight ball game.”
Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon’s solo home run off Ryan Tepera in the eighth was the 5,694th of this major league season, breaking the record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The record was broken with just less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.
”A pretty cool thing to be a part of,” Gordon said. ”I didn’t hit many this year but I guess I made one count.”
Gordon, who has eight home runs this season, didn’t intend to keep the ball from his milestone homer.
”I’m going to give it to Cooperstown,” Gordon said. ”I figured they’d probably have much more reason to have it than I do. I don’t really want to remember too much about this season so I’ll probably just give it away and let them take care of it.”
There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year’s average of 2.53 entering Tuesday projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.
”I don’t know what to make of it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”Guys are bigger and guys are stronger but so are the pitchers. There sure are a lot of home runs being hit.”
Barney went 2 for 3 with three RBIs as the Blue Jays opened their final homestand on a winning note.
Stroman (12-8) allowed one run and four hits for his first victory since Aug. 16 against Tampa Bay.
”He was really good tonight,” Yost said. ”He was changing speeds, had a lot of action on his fastball, moving all over the place. Good slider, really good changeup.”
Stroman has pitched 191 1/3 innings this season, and has two starts left to eclipse his record of 204, set last season.
”I feel extremely strong,” Stroman said. ”I feel great and I’m looking forward to my next two starts.”
Tepera pitched the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his 37th save in 47 chances.
Barney reached second base on a one-out throwing error by third baseman Mike Moustakas in the third but appeared to forget how many outs there were and was doubled off on Teoscar Hernadez’s liner to center.
That was the first of seven consecutive batters retired by Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, a streak that ended when Ryan Goins singled to begin the sixth. Barney fell behind 0-2 against Kennedy, then fouled off three straight pitches before homering into the left field bullpen.
”You’ve just got to give him credit,” Kennedy said. ”He did a good piece of hitting with two strikes.”
Making his first start since Sept. 8 after missing a turn because of a sore shoulder, Kennedy (4-12) allowed two runs and three hits in five-plus innings. He walked none and struck out two.
Yost said the extra time off for Kennedy ”definitely helped him recover and get some strength back to that shoulder.”
Winless in nine starts, Kennedy is 0-6 with an 8.29 ERA since his last victory, July 26 at Detroit.
Toronto pulled away with a three-run seventh. Russell Martin hit a two-run double off Scott Alexander and Barney greeted Brandon Maurer with an RBI single.
Jose Bautista struck out twice, giving him 159 for the year, matching Jose Canseco (1998) and Kelly Johnson (2012) for the highest season total in Blue Jays history.
Royals C Salvador Perez broke his bat on a second-inning foul ball and was left with just the handle as the barrel flew into the stands behind the third base camera well. Fortunately, no one was injured by the jagged piece of flying lumber.
Royals: Perez (pulled side muscle) and OF Lorenzo Cain (rest) returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday’s loss at Cleveland. Moustakas (right knee), who was limited to pinch-hitting duties Sunday, also started for Kansas City.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (7-2, 4.15) is 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA over his past seven starts. Junis has won five straight decisions and is unbeaten since June 29 at Detroit.
Blue Jays: LHP Brett Anderson (3-3, 5.73) was bothered by a blister during his previous outing, Sept. 14 at Minnesota, but was able to throw a bullpen session Sunday.
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