KANSAS CITY — One could argue the Royals had the perfect pitcher to capture their first series victory of 2018.
Right-hander Jakob Junis continued his dominance of the Tigers this season, throwing seven strong innings, and the Royals beat the Tigers, 4-2, Sunday afternoon to take three out of four in the series.
Junis gave up eight hits and two runs and matched a career high with eight strikeouts. He beat the Tigers for the third time this season.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who had three RBIs, said the rest of baseball may be just starting to figure out Junis, now 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA.
Added second baseman Whit Merrifield, “He’s dynamite. I think people are starting to take notice. But it doesn’t matter. If he’s spotting up, good luck.”
Merrifield manufactured a run in the first. He legged out a hustle double after his grounder caromed off third baseman Niko Goodrum, then stole third and scored on shallow fly to left by Moustakas.
Merrifield was at it again in the third. He hit a two-out single, again off Goodrum, then stole second. Merrifield stole third when the Tigers, playing in the shift, didn’t defend the bag. Jorge Soler, who had walked, stole second when the Tigers didn’t cover second base. Moustakas made the Tigers pay with a two-run double.