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Hernandez's walk off RBI single leads Blue Jays to comeback 6-5 win over Royals

TORONTO — As he watched his team fight out of a two-run deficit in extra innings, Teoscar Hernandez said he was feeding off the energy in the dugout.
Toronto Blue Jays' Raimel Tapia slides safely into home plate on a walk-off single by Teoscar Hernandez to win the game in the bottom of 10th inning American League baseball action in against the Kansas City Royals Toronto, Saturday, July 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker

TORONTO — As he watched his team fight out of a two-run deficit in extra innings, Teoscar Hernandez said he was feeding off the energy in the dugout.

"I just had the confidence that my teammates were going to put some good at-bats in and we're going to tie the game and win the ball game," he said.

Hernandez hit a walk-off RBI single as part of a three-run 10th inning for the Toronto Blue Jays as they came from behind to defeat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 at Rogers Centre on Saturday.

After Vinnie Pasquantino hit a two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning to put the Royals (36-55) up 5-3, the Blue Jays (49-43) chipped away at the deficit.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led things off with an RBI double. The Blue Jays' second baseman was emotionally charged up one pitch before that when a slider from Royals' reliever Joel Payamps (2-3) was called a strike. Guerrero slammed his bat in disagreement with the call before driving in the run that cut Kansas City's lead to 5-4.

"You don't really see him show that much frustration, but I think in that moment it may have been a good thing for him," Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider.

Raimel Tapia, pinch-hitting for Bradley Zimmer, followed with an RBI single to tie the game 5-5 before Hernandez singled to win the game for the Blue Jays.

Jordan Romano (3-2) picked up the win for the Blue Jays despite giving up the two-run homer to Pasquantino that gave the Royals the lead.

The Royals opened the scoring when Bobby Witt Jr. hit a two-out RBI single in the top of the third inning. Freddy Fermin came around from second base to score the run. Earlier in the inning, Fermin was initially called out at first base as part of a double play, but Kansas City challenged the play and was successful. The challenge allowed for the Royals to subsequently score the game's opening run.

The Blue Jays tied the game later in the inning when Alejandro Kirk hit a two-out, RBI single. Danny Jansen came in to score by narrowly beating out the throw at the plate from Royals' left fielder Edward Olivares.

In the fourth, the Royals reclaimed the lead after a triple by Ryan O'Hearn. Blue Jays starting pitcher Max Castillio was removed from the game following the hit by O'Hearn and was replaced with reliever Trevor Richards.

Castillo lasted just three-plus innings while allowing three runs and five hits while striking out one batter. The pitcher was notified the night before that he would be tasked with starting the game.

Nate Eaton hit a sacrifice fly RBI to increase Kansas City's lead to 3-1.

George Springer hit a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded to tie the game 3-3. The hit from Springer chased Royals starter Daniel Lynch out of the game.

In the sixth inning, Royals manager Mike Matheny was ejected from the game for arguing an interference call handed to Michael Massey, as Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen attempted to throw out a runner at second after a pitch. The call ended the inning for Kansas City, which had runners on first and second base.

"I just think it’s a bad call at a very bad time in the game," Matheny said. It’s a judgment call so there’s nothing we can do about it, but it’s a shame."

BASELINES: The Blue Jays announced that Santiago Espinal will head to the MLB All-Star Game to replace Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who was struck on the knee in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Espinal joins teammates Alek Manoah, Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk as Blue Jays representing the American League on Tuesday in Los Angeles. … Before the game, the Blue Jays and Royals traded pitchers. Toronto acquired lefty Foster Griffin in exchange for righty Jonatan Berna. The Blue Jays also optioned Griffin to Triple-A and recalled right-handed pitcher Jeremy Beasley. Right-hander pitcher Sergio Romo was designated for assignment. Announced attendance for the game was 40,135.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2022

David Alter, The Canadian Press