KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Jakob Junis ran his consecutive scoreless streak to 14 innings as the Royals staked him to a seven-run lead Thursday night, and a shaky Kansas City bullpen held on after giving most of it back for a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Juniors (1-0) was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk while pitching into the sixth, but both runs scored with reliever Jake Newberry on the mound.
Kyle Zimmer gave up a run, and Scott Barlow put two on with one out in the ninth before getting Bo Bichette to pop out and striking out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for his first save.
Guerrero finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Blue Jays. The highlight for them was his two-out homer in the seventh that soared over the fountains in left field and landed an estimated 456 feet from home plate.
It certainly wasn’t Toronto spot-starter Anthony Kay (0-1), who gave up five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
The Royals had been in an offensive slumber before breaking out against the Angels on Wednesday. A lineup built to drive the ball into the significant gaps at Kauffman Stadium continued to pile up the extra-base hits Thursday night. Andrew Benintendi began the scoring with an RBI double before Kay even recorded an out. Nicky Lopez continued with an RBI triple in the third – then scored on an error by third baseman Cavan Biggio. But the big blow to the Blue Jays came in the fifth when four of the first six batters that Kansas City sent to the plate dropped doubles into the outfield.
Jorge Soler led off with the 100th double of his career. Hunter Dozier and Hanser Alberto followed with one-out images. And Whit Merrifield capped the four-run frame with a two-run double for a 7-0 lead.
Junis’ streak of 14 straight scoreless innings to start the season finally ended in the sixth when Newberry allowed both of the runners he inherited to score during what became a four-run inning for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays put RHPs Ross Stripling (right flexor strain) and Jordan Romano (right ulnar neuritis) on the injured list. Kay was recalled from the alternate training site along with RHP Joel Payamps, who pitched in relief. “It was tightness,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of Stripling, the fourth Blue Jays starter to land on the IL. “We don’t think it’s that bad, but it’s not good enough for him to pitch in 10 days; we know that for sure.”
Blue Jays: Biggio left in the fifth inning with pain in his right hand. Joe Panik replaced him and hit a two-run double. Royals: SS Adalberto Mondesi has ramped up his movement, but there remains no timetable for his return, manager Mike Matheny said. Mondesi has been on the injured list with a strained right oblique since the start of the season.
The Blue Jays will send LHP Steven Matz (2-0, 1.46 ERA) against Royals RHP Mike Minor (1-0, 4.50) on Friday night unless rain is forecasted to last most of the day washes things out. Minor is 4-0 in seven career appearances against Toronto.
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