WASHINGTON — The Royals’ unofficial conclusion to the 2019 first half looked a lot like many games they have played through the first few months: some bright spots, but not enough to come away with a victory.
On Sunday at Nationals Park, right-hander Jakob Junis bounced back from his worst start of the season with one of his best.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Nationals scored three runs off reliever Jake Diekman in the bottom of the eighth inning to forge a 5-2 victory. Diekman gave up an RBI double to Anthony Rendon and a two-run double to pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick.
Junis, who gave up a season-high seven runs in his last outing, went seven strong this time, giving up just five hits. Unfortunately, two of the hits were solo home runs, by Brian Dozier and Victor Robles.
And the Royals’ offense, which shot blanks in a 6-0 loss Saturday, offered little resistance against Nationals starter Patrick Corbin and the Washington bullpen. Corbin threw seven shutout innings and struck out 11.
The Royals wiped out a 2-0 deficit in the eighth. Facing Fernando Rodney, Martin Maldonado singled, pinch-runner Terrance Gore swiped second and, after two outs, Adalberto Mondesi delivered a broken-bat, RBI single to left. Then Alex Gordon smacked an RBI double off Sean Doolittle.