Callaspo's walk-off caps two Royals rallys
Club responds to Yost's meeting with gritty victory
KANSAS CITY -- After six consecutive losses, manager Ned Yost told his Royals he wanted to see more intensity. They delivered quickly.
The Royals dug out of an extra-inning hole with a two-run rally in the 10th to scuttle the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-4, on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium. You want intensity? You got it.
"Sure, everybody saw it," Yost said. "That was a game that they scrapped out. It was a hard-fought game and they kept after it. The defense, the pitching, the offense after hitting balls right on the nose right at people. ... They kept after it."
Yost had lectured his troops after a lackluster loss, their sixth in a row, on Sunday against Oakland. But on a sultry Monday night, he saw the determined Royals to which he'd become accustomed.
"That's what they do," Yost said. "They've had one day out of two months that they let their focus down, so that's way, way down the river."
A seventh straight loss loomed when, in the 10th, the Blue Jays got a run against reliever Kyle Farnsworth on Fred Lewis' single, a hit batter and Jose Bautista's RBI single for a 4-3 lead. But Farnsworth got three quick outs after the run scored, one at home plate, to keep the Royals close.
"That was the main thing, limiting the damage, and that's the name of the game in that situation," Farnsworth said.
Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg came on but Scott Podsednik bridged the gap in right-center field and raced to a triple.
"I'm just grinding and battling to reach base," Podsednik said. "... He put one out over and I put a pretty good swing on it."
And Gregg was about to get his first blown save since June 1.
"Honestly, I felt like I made pretty good pitches tonight," Gregg said. "Podsednik came up and I threw a little back-door cutter that went right into his bat and went the other way. With his speed, that's an automatic triple, and that's not the way you want to start."
No, because Jason Kendall was up.
"You knew that he was going to somehow find a way to get [Podsednik] in," Yost said.
Sure enough, on a 3-1 pitch, a fly ball arched to the center fielder and got Podsednik home. David DeJesus tapped into the second, but Billy Butler singled to center and Chris Getz entered the game as a pinch-runner. Yost would have loved for Getz to steal second, but Gregg was too fast to the plate and an attempt would have been "suicide" in Yost's view.
"On the flip side, it looked like he was so intent on keeping Getzy close to the bag that it affected his command a little bit and he ended up walking [Jose] Guillen. So it worked," Yost said.
With the speedy Getz now at second, Alberto Callaspo smacked a bouncer up the middle and perilously close to Gregg.
"It was close. It tipped his glove, but I got it," Callaspo said.
The ball rolled into center field and Getz raced home to end the game, giving the Royals a break from losing and a 7-2 record in extra-inning games.
"It's huge, especially coming back with the way it happened," said Farnsworth, who got the victory. "It was a lot of fun with guys coming together as a team."
Royals starter Kyle Davies fell behind, 2-1, in the third inning when Yunel Escobar banged a two-run homer. In the seventh, ex-Royal John Buck singled in a third run for the Blue Jays.
But the Royals knotted the game at 3 in their half of the seventh against two Blue Jays left-handers, starter Brett Cecil and reliever Scott Downs.
Actually, they were fortunate the Blue Jays didn't have another run. They came within a few feet in the fourth inning, but center fielder David DeJesus caught Lyle Overbay's fly ball and threw out Adam Lind trying to advance to third base. That double play ended the inning just before Vernon Wells crossed the plate from third base after the catch.
"That was huge, saved a run for us," Yost said.
And, in the end, probably saved the game.
"Obviously we've been on a little skid, but that right there shows you how we're not quitting and we never have quit," Butler said. "We're still battling and we're never giving up."
Davies, who put in seven strong innings, giving up 10 hits without a walk, saw renewed life on the field.
"To come back and win a game the way we did tonight may catapult us. I hope it does," Davies said.
So did Podsednik.
"Hopefully we can gain some momentum and win this series going into New York," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.