When Aaron Sanchez wakes up on Monday, the good news is that he will be able to celebrate his 27th birthday.
The bad news is that he continues to be searching for his first major-league win since April 27.
On Sunday in a 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, Sanchez (3-11) was staked to a 5-1 lead after two innings. But Sanchez walked the first batter in the top of the third, No. 9 hitter Humberto Arteaga, and then walked Whit Merrifield. That was followed by four consecutive singles, and after a double-play grounder brought in another run, it was 6-5.
“Free passes came back to haunt me,” Sanchez said after the game. “It’s just going back to the basics. I know who I am, and I know who I’ll be.”
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was supportive of Sanchez.
“His last outing was good, his work in the bullpen was good, but he struggled today,” Montoyo said of Sanchez.
Reliever Nick Kingham threw 3.1 innings, allowing only one run on a home run. But for now, Sanchez stays in the starting rotation.
“(A move to the bullpen) is an option, but I still believe in the kid,” Montoyo said.
Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller has had it almost as bad as Sanchez, entering the game with only one win in May and June combined.
However, Keller made it through five innings with the lead, and earned the win to go to 4-9 on the season.
SUN DAY AT THE PARK
A cloudless day at a wide-open Rogers Centre proved to be a challenge to the Royals.
In the bottom of the second, with two out and two on, Luke Maile hit a foul ball down the right-field line that Royals first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert couldn’t catch. On the next pitch, Maile made contact again, but this time the ball stayed fair.
Right fielder Jorge Soler camped under it, but fell away from the ball at the last moment. Maile was credited with his second career triple, and two batters later, the Blue Jays had a 5-1 lead.
In the third inning, Cuthbert and Royals catcher Martin Maldonado collided while trying to catch a short popup by Teoscar Hernandez, but that didn’t lead to any Toronto runs.
Blue Jays DH Justin Smoak connected on two home runs, both off Keller. The blasts were Smoak’s 13th and 14th home runs of the season.
Entering Sunday, Smoak had not homered since June 1, which included a stint on the 10-day injured list with a left quad strain.
“I got a little bit of my rhythm back,” Smoak said after the game.
A third homer would have won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a runner aboard, but Smoak popped out to end the contest.
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