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Perez homers, Royals beat Blue Jays in game called after 5 innings, 3 1/2-hour delay

Salvador Perez Kansas City Royals Salvador Perez - The Canadian Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals manager Matt Quatraro was frustrated that his team was left hanging in limbo. Blue Jays counterpart John Schneider was equally perturbed that his team wasn't being given a chance to finish out a game it was losing.

At least Quatraro felt a bit better in the end.

After playing five innings, then waiting out a bizarre rain delay that stretched to 3 hours, 38 minutes, the Royals finally were declared a 2-1 winner Thursday — their third straight one-run victory to wrap up their four-game set with Toronto.

Salvador Perez provided both of their runs with a two-out, two-run homer off José Berrios (4-1) in the first, and Cole Ragans (1-2) earned the win by allowing the lone Blue Jays run on three hits and three walks in five rain-soaked innings.

“What was getting frustrating to me,” Quatraro said, "was just like, ‘All right. Let’s make the decision, one way or the other. Tell us to get out there and play or tell us to go home.”

The strange sequence of events began when the fifth inning ended, and an early drizzle had turned into a steady rain.

Umpire chief Chris Guccione called for the tarp to cover the infield, but Schneider came out and objected, arguing that his club deserved another opportunity to tie or take the lead. Guccione told the grounds crew to roll the tarp back and attempt to get the field in playing shape, but about 10 minutes later, the umpire summoned the tarp again.

The field was covered for about 2 hours. When the rain stopped, the grounds crew went to work, pouring dozens of bags of dry dirt on it. But after another hour-plus spent working on the field, Guccione made the decision to call the game complete.

“They tried to work their magic to try to scrape all that old dirt off, get new dirt on there, rake it as much as they could,” he said. “It was just like, the whole shortstop area, the whole third base area, was so spongy and soft that I couldn’t imagine Bo Bichette or Bobby Witt Jr. trying to field the ball to their left or right and planting and trying to make a successful throw. That’s not good for the game, and for sure, the safety of the players is the No. 1 priority.”

The decision still didn't sit well with Schneider.

“I think the entire day was handled kind of poorly, just from the start of the game,” he said. “What was said out there was the fact that the field was unplayable and they didn’t want to continue the game. In my opinion, the field was significantly better than it was in the third, fourth and fifth inning.”

Long forgotten was what had transpired in the game: Berrios had a streak of 22 1/3 scoreless innings end when Perez, following Vinnie Pasquantino's two-out walk, deposited the first pitch he saw into the left-field bullpen in the first inning.

In the fourth, the Blue Jays bookended Davis Schneider's walk with hits by Justin Turner and Ernie Clement to cut the Royals' lead in half, but Ragans bounced back to retire Daulton Varsho and Alejandro Kirk and maintain a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Jays had another chance in the fifth, when center fielder Kyle Isbel made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch of Isiah Kiner-Falefa's drive to the warning track. Isbel also raced down George Springer's blooper. Then, after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drew a walk, Bichette popped foul to end what turned out to be the Blue Jays' final at-bat.

“It’s kind of an awkward state," Isbel said. "You obviously want to play, but it’s out of our control. The field was pretty messed up. I didn’t really go back down there after the rain stopped. It was just kind of a waiting game.”


Royals: RHP Alec Marsh (bruised right elbow) went on the injured list Thursday after taking a 91 mph line drive off his elbow the previous night. RHP Will Klein was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take his spot on the roster.

Blue Jays: RHP Bowden Francis (right forearm tendinitis) was placed on the IL after pitching two scoreless innings Wednesday night. LHP Brendon Little was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take his spot in the bullpen.


Blue Jays: Start a six-game homestand that includes a visit by Kansas City next week. Up first are the Los Angeles Dodgers with RHP Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.90 ERA) getting the nod against them in Friday night's series opener.

Royals: Begin a six-day trip against the Tigers on Friday with a rare 12:10 p.m. CDT start so that it any minimizes interference with the NFL draft in Detroit. RHP Seth Lugo (3-1, 2.03) is on the mound for the series opener.