KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoya has been waiting all season for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to get hot.
Two grand slams in the last 10 days hot enough?
The budding young star hit the latest in the ninth inning Tuesday night, giving him a career-high five RBIs and punctuating Toronto’s 9-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals. The 20-year-old Guerrero is the fourth-youngest American League player ever to drive in five runs in a game.
“He’s getting hot now and I knew that was going to happen,” Montoya said. “He’s seeing the ball better. He’s having good at-bats. He wasn’t doing that and still getting hits because he’s just that good, but now he’s having good at-bats.”
Freddy Galvis drove in a pair of runs with a broken-bat single, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also had an RBI for the Blue Jays, who clinched their first winning series at Kauffman Stadium since April 2013.
Meanwhile, the Royals stranded 14 while going 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
Sean Reid-Foley (1-1), making just his third start of the season, dominated the Royals much as he did in late June. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed four hits and walked four while striking out four, and if not for a pitch count that had already reached 92, he might have gone farther.
“Whatever they need, I don’t care,” Foley said. “I could throw tomorrow.”
No need for more. The Blue Jays’ bullpen — and Guerrero’s big blow — took care of the rest.
“We won 9-2,” Montoyoa said, “but it was a lot closer game.”
The Royals’ Mike Montgomery (1-4) failed to build off a solid start against Cleveland his last time out, getting tagged for two runs in the first and never getting in a groove. The recently acquired left-hander allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk while failing to escape the fifth.
His trouble began with the very first batter, Bo Bichette, who ripped a clean single. Four of the first five Toronto batters wound up reaching base, putting the Royals in a 2-0 hole.
Montgomery dodged more trouble in the third before Galvis, scratched from the series opener with back tightness, cracked his bat while dumping a pitch into left field for a two-run single in the fifth.
“It was a frustrating night all around,” Montgomery said. “I thought I made so many good pitches, no results to show for it. That’s baseball. I felt good.”
The Royals would have loved such timely hitting.
They left the bags loaded in the first when Cheslor Cuthbert flied out, then stranded runners each of the next five frames. And when Hunter Dozier led off the seventh with a single, Jorge Soler popped out and Ryan O’Hearn grounded into a double play — so at least they didn’t strand anyone.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The game had the feel that, you know, we were going to be kind of out of it the whole game. Battle, battle, battle, but nothing to show for it, then boom, we were going to be right there.”
STATS AND STREAKS
The Blue Jays had lost five straight series at the K. … Foley earned his first win since Sept. 15 against the Yankees. … Galvis made his first career start at DH. … The Royals have committed at least two errors twice during this homestand. … Montgomery is winless in his last 18 appearances.
BLUE JAYS MOVES
The Blue Jays traded right-hander David Phelps to the Cubs along with cash to offset a portion of the reliever’s salary. They got Double-A pitcher Thomas Hatch in return. … Outfielder Dalton Pompey, who was designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo.
Blue closer Ken Giles, the subject of rampant trade speculation, got a cortisone shot in his right elbow to treat what the club called mild inflammation. Head trainer Nikki Huffman said an MRI exam showed no structural problems, and Giles is expected to begin throwing in a couple days.
Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (left shoulder subluxation) continues to take groundballs and took 40 swings each way off the tee. “We go day to day,” Yost said. “Making progress.”
The Royals send right-hander Jakob Junis (6-9, 5.03) to the mound to cap their miserable homestand Wednesday afternoon. Jacob Waguespack (1-1, 5.63) is getting the ball for the Blue Jays.