Junis solid, but KC struggles to score

KANSAS CITY — Right-hander Jakob Junis and the Royals probably deserved a better fate.

Junis mostly overmatched the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, giving up just six hits and two walks over seven-plus innings and at one point retiring 13 in a row and 15 of 16. Still, the Blue Jays scratched home a fluke run, and then Freddy Galvis and Bo Bichette popped home runs, and that was enough to seal Toronto’s 4-1 victory and complete its three-game sweep.

“Yeah, it was very, very frustrating,” Junis said. “I was cruising, getting ahead and keeping the pitch count down. I just gave up a couple of homers late.”

Meanwhile, the Royals, as they did Tuesday night, sent rockets all over the field, delivering 11 balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher. Yet they had only one run and three hits to show for all that hard contact.

“That’s just baseball,” Royals right fielder Hunter Dozier said. “We put together good at-bats. That’s all we really can control. They made some good plays.”

“We just smoked balls,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”The first two games, I didn’t feel like we swung the bats well. We left runners on and just didn’t swing the bats well. Today, we didn’t have anything to show for it. I thought we swung the bats really, really well. It’s a crazy game sometimes. It can really frustrate you when you just can’t seem to catch a break or find a hole. That’s what it was today.”

Catcher Cam Gallagher belted his second home run of the season in the third inning, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.

But the Jays tied it in the sixth. Cavan Biggio drew a one-out walk, and then sneaked off first base undetected one out later, stealing second before Gallagher even made a throw. That stolen base was crucial because Justin Smoak cracked his bat on a slider from Junis and floated a 72-mph RBI single to left.

“That wasn’t a very good pitch,” Junis said. “It was a slider that kinda stayed up.”

Galvis jumped on a 0-1 slider from Junis in the seventh and powered it into the left-center-field seats. Bichette hit a first-pitch curve to roughly the same spot in the eighth.