Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during first inning AL baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, July 4, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
TORONTO - Carlos Villanueva pitched six shutout innings and Yunel Escobar drove in two runs as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Wednesday.
Rajai Davis had a triple and a sacrifice fly, while Kelly Johnson also had sac fly as the Blue Jays won their second straight over the Royals.
Villanueva (3-0) held the Royals to four hits and no walks while striking out seven in his second start since coming out of the bullpen to bolster an injury-depleted starting rotation.
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth inning for his 11th save and second in the past two games for Toronto (42-40).
Luis Mendoza (3-5) allowed nine hits, one walk and three runs while setting a career high of nine strikeouts over six innings for the Royals (36-44).
The Jays opened the scoring in the second with Davis' triple and a sac fly by Johnson. Singles by J.P. Arencibia and Brett Lawrie and a walk to Colby Rasmus loaded the bases with two out for Jose Bautista who struck out.
Escobar and Davis hit sacrifice flies in the third to put the Blue Jays into a 3-0 lead. Edwin Encarnacion led off with an infield hit on a slow grounder to second and both Mendoza and first baseman Eric Hosmer wound up covering first. Mendoza took the throw but he left the bag to get out Hosmer’s way. Adam Lind sliced a double to left to set up the sacrifice flies.
Jason Frasor took over from Villanueva in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff walk to Billy Butler but Yuniesky Betancourt rapped into a double play.
But Mike Moustakas singled and Jeff Francoeur hit a liner to left that Davis played into a run-scoring triple as the ball skipped past him to the fence.
The Blue Jays scored a run against Kelvin Herrera in the seventh on a single by Rasmus, a two-out walk to Lind and a single by Escobar.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 17,831. ... Left-hander Jamie Moyer, who is on a minor-league contract, allowed seven earned runs in six innings for triple-A Las Vegas in an 11-6 loss to Reno on Tuesday. Moyer is 1-1 with an earned-run average of 8.18 in two starts for the 51s. ..Lind who has three home runs since his return from Las Vegas batted fifth and was designated hitter in Wednesday’s game with Johnson dropped to eighth. In Lind’s seven previous starts since his return, he batted eighth. ...Encarnacion extended his hit streak to 10 games with his first-inning single . ....Henderson Alvarez (5-6, 4.33 ERA) will start the series finale on Thursday for Toronto against Luke Hochevar (5-8, 5.23 ERA).