KANSAS CITY -- Exiled at his own suggestion after blowing five saves earlier this year, All-Star Joakim Soria is back as Kansas City's closer.
Manager Ned Yost told Soria after the right-hander pitched two scoreless innings and earned the win as the Royals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2, 11-inning victory over Toronto at Kauffman Stadium.
Aaron Crow, who did not have a save opportunity while serving as temporary closer, will move back into his set-up role.
"That sets our bullpen up nice," said Yost, who thinks Soria needed to make a "mental adjustment" more than anything.
"Get back on the attack, get out and over on his front foot," Yost said.
Among Soria's struggles this season: His 16 earned runs allowed are three more than his season totals from both 2009 and 2010, and the five blown saves are the most of any of his five seasons.
He approached Yost following his fifth blown save of the season -- and second in two days -- on May 30.
"He's done it with a lot of class, a lot of dignity," Yost said of his two-time All-Star. "He stepped back when he felt he was hurting the team, and he stepped back when he had to make adjustments before coming back to help us."
Yost noted it was quick, "eight or nine days", but now he's again seeing "vintage Soria."
"He had two four-out innings where we made errors on ground balls when we should have made the out, and he's been fantastic," Yost said.
Entering this season, since becoming Kansas City's closer following the trade of Octavio Dotel on July 31, 2007, Soria had converted 122 of 132 save opportunities. His 92.4 conversion percentage during that time was second in the majors to the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (92.9 percent).
"I always felt good, but I'm in a better spot right now," Soria said. "I feel better in my command. I'll always be challenged in this game. I like challenges, and I put a challenge to myself to come back as quick as I can."