Whether it was reliever Francisco Cordero failing to cover first base to allow two runs to score, or two players who were doubled up on line outs, the Blue Jays were in a generous mood on Thursday.
And as a result the Royals held off Toronto for a 9-6 victory to earn a four-game series split.
Eric Hosmer led Kansas City with three runs batted in.
Cordero failed to cover first base on Hosmer’s grounder to second that could have ended the eighth with one run scored. But the reliever was late getting to the bag and two runs scored for an 8-3 Royals lead.
“Coco (Cordero) is well aware of it, he’s a stand-up guy,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s trying to get the most out of the stuff he has and yet a couple of seeing-eye base hits, a broken-bat base hit, but the lapse at that point is a key moment in the game.”
The Blue Jays came back with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, two on a pinch-hit triple by Ben Francisco.
Salvador Perez had a career-best four hits for the Royals to extend his hit streak to 11 games.
J.P. Arencibia hit two home runs for Toronto (42-41) and had three runs batted in for the game.
Toronto's Henderson Alvarez (5-7) allowed eight hits in 5 1/3 innings and all five of the runs charged to him were in the third inning when the Royals sent 10 batters to the plate.
“They did their job staying on his stuff,” Farrell said. “I thought Henderson had quality pitches throughout but there were some base hits that found holes and there were a couple of walks that prolonged the inning.”
Luke Hochevar (6-8) allowed four hits in five innings and two runs, both on a home run by Arencibia in the third. He left after five innings after suffering a right ankle sprain in the bottom of the fifth while covering first base.
Yuniesky Betancourt homered for the Royals (37-44).
The Blue Jays had a couple of possible threats blunted by poor base running. Rajai Davis lined to short and Betancourt made the catch and doubled up Yunel Escobar at second to end the fourth.
Jose Bautista lined out to third and that ended the game when Colby Rasmus was doubled off first base and Jonathan Broxton picked up his 21st save.
“Obviously the read is to freeze on the line drive and yet we’re a couple of strides in to try to advance a base and it ends up costing us,” Farrell said. “We’re going to remain aggressive but we still have to play heads up baseball.”
The Royals struck for five runs in the third. It started with one out when Perez singled, Jarrod Dyson doubled, and Alex Gordon walked to load the bases.
Alcides Escobar and Hosmer singled in runs, then two more runs were scored on an infield single by Billy Butler and a throwing error by third baseman Brett Lawrie.
“In the third inning I was pulling my left shoulder to first base so I was getting a little open so the pitches weren’t moving as good,” Alvarez said through coach Luis Rivera. “The next inning I made the adjustment and kept shoulder straight and stepped toward the plate and that helped me.”
Arencibia homered after Kelly Johnson's leadoff double in the third to cut the lead to 5-2.
Hochevar injured his ankle while running to cover first base on Rasmus' infield single in the fifth. He stayed in the game and struck out Bautista to finish the inning.
“I thought Hosmer caught the ball so I kind of let up a little bit and then I saw that it took a funky hop and skipped out of his glove,” Hochevar said. “Then I tried to put on the afterburner to try and get there and when I caught it I just lunged for the bag and I just hit the bag on the inside and just rolled it in.
“It wouldn't have been bad if it wasn't on the inside. When I was pushing off the rubber it extended it and it was biting me pretty good.”
Left-hander Tim Collins took over from Hochevar in the sixth and gave up Arencibia's second homer of the game and 13th of the season with one out in the seventh before being replaced by Greg Holland.
Alvarez was replaced by left-hander Luis Perez with one out in the sixth after a single by Salvador Perez.
Right-handed reliever Sam Dyson made his major-league debut for the Blue Jays in the seventh, replacing Perez with two out.
Dyson had a walk and a strikeout to finish the inning.
The 24-year-old was promoted from double-A New Hampshire to replace Canadian right-hander Scott Richmond, who was returned to triple-A Las Vegas after Wednesday's game.
Cordero allowed three runs in the eighth on five singles. But the final two runs scored on Hosmer's grounder to second became an infield hit when Cordero was late covering first.
Farrell said Cordero made another fielding mistake in the inning.
“A ground ball back to him gets under his bare hand where it looks to be a tailor-made double play as well,” Farrell said. “Those two defensive plays certainly contributed to the crooked number on the scoreboard and as it turns out they became costly especially after we were able to put three runs back on the board.”
Aaron Crow allowed a run-scoring single to Escobar to drive in one run in the bottom of the eighth after Edwin Encarnacion walked and Adam Lind singled. Francisco hit his triple against left-hander Jose Mijares.
Drew Carpenter gave up Betancourt's sixth homer of the season in the ninth.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 20,598. ...The Blue Jays will start left-hander Aaron Laffey (0-0, 2.14 earned-run average) on Friday in Chicago against White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (6-5, 2.96 ERA) in the opener of a three-game series that leads to the All-Star Game break.