Sparkman Struggles as BlueJays Take Series

Backed by an offensive barrage, Blue Jays left-hander Clayton Richard had a relatively easy time ending the longest losing streak of his career.

Freddy Galvis hit a pair of solo home runs, rookie Cavan Biggio had four RBIs and Toronto beat the Kansas City Royals 11-4 on Monday.

Randal Grichuk had four hits and four RBIs and Teoscar Hernandez added a solo home run as the Blue Jays won for the 15th time in 19 regular-season home meetings with the Royals.

Richard (1-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings to win for the first time since Aug. 18, 2018, when he beat Arizona while pitching for San Diego. He’d lost nine straight decisions since.

“It’s huge,” Richard said of earning his first win with Toronto. “That’s why we play the game, is to win. It feels a lot better doing that than the alternative.”

Richard has pitched six innings in back-to-back starts for the first time this season.

“That’s all we can ask: five, six good innings, and he gave us again that today,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Wearing red caps and jerseys in honor of Canada Day, the Blue Jays scored in each of the first four innings and finished with a season-high 18 hits.

“I’m impressed with Toronto’s team, their young crop of hitters,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They’re going to be really a good group that’s going to be able to put some runs on the board.”

Biggio, who went 3 for 5, hit his first career grand slam in Saturday’s 7-5 victory, the first time he had driven in four runs in a game.

Members of the Canadian Forces rappelled into the outfield from the open stadium roof before the game, before hundreds of servicemen and women unfurled a giant Canadian flag for the singing of “O Canada.”

“I can see how much it means to so many people, and I feel honored and privileged to be a part of it,” Richard said about pitching on Canada Day.

Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman (2-4) allowed career highs of nine hits and eight runs in three innings.

“I just really didn’t have good command of anything and they jumped it,” Sparkman said.

Ahead 2-0 after one, the Blue Jays scored five in the second, doing so for the second straight game. On Sunday, Toronto immediately surrendered five runs in the third and lost 7-6 to Kansas City _ the Royals’ only win in the four-game series.

Hernandez homered on the first pitch of the second, his eighth, and Galvis followed with a blast to center. It was the seventh time this season the Blue Jays have gone back-to-back.

Biggio added a two-run double and Grichuk capped the inning with an RBI single.

Galvis went deep again in the third, the third multihomer game of his career. He now has 14 home runs this season. Galvis doubled in the fifth and flied out in the seventh.

Jorge Soler, Cheslor Cuthbert and Humberto Arteaga hit consecutive RBI singles off Richard in the fourth, and Royals All-Star Whit Merrifield had an RBI single off David Phelps in the seventh.