TORONTO – Charlie Montoyo always believed his hitters were better than what they have shown for much of the season.
“It started with (Lourdes) Gurriel. We sent him down, he came back and got hot and the rest followed,” the Toronto Blue Jays manager said.
Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk drove in four batters each and Freddy Galvis had a pair of home runs as the Jays recorded a season-high 18 hits in an 11-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday in their annual Canada Day game.
Teoscar Hernandez also had a home run as Toronto (32-53) put on an offensive display in front of 29,339 fans at Rogers Centre.
Clayton Richard (1-4) picked up his first win as a Blue Jay and first victory since June 22, 2018. He snapped a string of nine consecutive lost decisions. Richard delivered a quality start by pitching six innings while allowing three runs on seven hits. He struck out four batters and walked one.
Richard credits his focus on the quality of pitches for the turnaround in his game in recent weeks.
“I’m getting ahead of hitters consistently, that’s a big reason for that,” Richard said. “Jano (catcher Danny Jansen) has been calling terrific games and I’ve pretty much just been relying on what he’s putting down.”
Richard put together back-to-back quality starts for the first time since he put together five quality starts from May 30-June 22 of last season as a member of the San Diego Padres.
The Royals (29-56) scored three of their four runs in the fourth inning.
Glenn Sparkman (2-4) struggled against the Blue Jays bats. He lasted just three innings while allowing eight runs on nine hits. He struck out a batter and walked another while surrendering three home runs.
Toronto opened the scoring in the first inning when Biggio grounded out to score Eric Sogard from third base for a 1-0 lead. Grichuk hit an RBI single in the next at bat for a 2-0 Blue Jays lead.
Hernandez and Galvis led off the bottom of the second inning with back-to-back solo homers for Toronto, which increased its lead to 4-0. Biggio hit a two-out, two-run double which made it 6-0. The Blue Jays capped off a five-run inning when Grichuk picked up his second RBI single for a 7-0 lead.
In the third, Galvis hit his second home run of the game to give Toronto an 8-0 lead. It was Galvis’s third-career multi-homer game. He hit a double in the sixth inning to provide the shortstop with his first career three extra-base hit game of his Major League career.
“I think that’s pretty cool,” Galvis said when learning of the stat. “Especially because my first at bat with two strikeouts, I was just trying to put the ball in play and to pick a good pitch. I made a really good adjustment right there.”
The Royals got on the board in the fourth inning. After facing the minimum amount of batters through 3 1/3 innings, Richard allowed five of the next six batters to reach base. Jorge Soler, Cheslor Cuthbert and Humberto Arteaga hit back-to-back-to-back singles to cut Toronto’s lead to 8-3.
Later in the inning, Biggio recorded his fourth RBI of the afternoon, a single which gave Toronto a 9-3 lead. Grichuk would follow with his third RBI single of the game for a 10-3 advantage.
“His mentality when he gets to the plate, he has a really good approach,” Galvis said of Biggio. “He takes really good at bats for being a young guy in this league.”
In the sixth inning, Grichuk hit his fourth-consecutive RBI single which gave Toronto an 11-3 lead.
In the seventh, Whit Merrifield hit an RBI single which cut the Blue Jays lead to 11-4.