TORONTO -- The Kansas City Royals gave James Shields an early lead.
And the right-hander knows how to work with one.
Shields (10-8) proved that again on Sunday as he shut down the Toronto Blue Jays on three hits and one walk while striking out nine in seven innings as the Royals salvaged one game from the three-game series with a 5-0 victory.
"It just seems like he's getting stronger and stronger as the year goes on," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"Shields is good and when he gets a lead like that you're probably not going to get to him too often," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's proven that against this ballclub for years."
Shields is 12-6 against the Blue Jays in his career. And over his past 25 innings at Rogers Centre, he has allowed just one earned run for an ERA of 0.36.
"It's what he does every day," Yost said. "He gets ahead with his fastball and then uses an outstanding changeup to put hitters away. Good breaking ball, knows when to use his cutter, commands the ball really well, stays on the attack and competes."
"I was mixing my pitches up as well as I can and trying to keep them off balance," Shields said.
With Shields winning his fourth decision in a row, the Royals (70-66) finished their road tip that started at Minnesota with a 4-2 record and snapped the Blue Jays' three-game winning streak.
The Blue Jays (62-75) finished their six-game home stand at 4-2.
Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (3-5) lasted four innings, allowing six hits, one walk and five runs (three earned) to drop his third straight decision.
"It's frustrating for everybody," Happ said. "They just hit 'em where we weren't and we got outplayed today. I just need to focus on being down in the zone. Maybe it's mixing up a little more, try to force contact earlier in the count but it's tough to change the way you pitch. But I know I can be better.
Chad Jenkins took over in the fifth for Happ and held the Royals to two hits over three innings. Neil Wagner came in for the eighth and Dustin McGowan took over in the ninth.
Luke Hochevar replaced Shields in the eighth and struck out his first batter, Anthony Gose, after a 14-pitch at-bat.
Greg Holland pitched the ninth.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first with an unearned run.
Former Blue Jay Emilio Bonifacio walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher J.P. Arencibia and came home on Hosmer's groundout to second.
The Royals scored four in the third to take a 5-0 lead. Jarrod Dyson led off with a single and stole second. Shortstop Jose Reyes threw to third on Alcides Escobar's grounder and had Dyson out. But Reyes was charged with interference in the rundown and both runners were safe.
"I don't know what to say about that because I don't know the exact ruling on it," Happ said. "I do know he wasn't even looking at Jose and that he actually took a step back into Jose. I know he has the right to create his own base line but he had no proof it was even there.
"It changes that inning definitely. At the same time I'm trying to minimize damage and I felt I was making good pitches."
Alex Gordon took his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single.
Bonifacio singled in a run and Hosmer singled in two more as he extended his hit streak to five games.
Gibbons lamented that one bad inning and the interference call.
"One inning blew up on us; we got the interference call," Gibbons said. "It just opened everything up. And then we missed the cut-off man and a couple of sunk shots and the next thing you know they've got a nice little lead."
"It worked out perfect for us because we ended up with two guys on base, first and third," Dyson said. "I wasn't going to stop right there and just let him tag me because he was in my way."
NOTES: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 22,961. ...Blue Jays INF Ryan Goins was 0-for-4 to end the eight-game hitting streak that opened his major league career. ... The Blue Jays won the season series with the Royals, 4-2. ... LHP Francisley Bueno and C Brett Hayes joined the Royals on Sunday as the first of their September call-ups. ... RHP Steve Delabar (shoulder inflammation) and McGowan (right oblique strain) ended their minor league rehabilitation assignments to rejoin Toronto as major league rosters expanded. ... The Blue Jays visit Arizona for a three-game series with RHP Esmil Rogers (3-7, 5.03 ERA) starting Monday's opener against RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-8, 5.03 ERA). ... The Royals return home to play a four-game series against Seattle and will start LHP Danny Duffy (2-0, 1.10 ERA) against RHP Felix Hernandez (12-8, 2.97 ERA).