MLB

Blue Jays' comeback falls short as Royals scratch out victory on Jackie Robinson Day

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.

Toronto's 5 straight runs to end game not enough to dig out of 7-0 hole

Kansas City's Salvador Perez tags out Toronto's Bo Bichette on a dropped third strike during the fourth inning of the Royals' 7-5 win over the Blue Jays on Thursday. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Royals manager Mike Matheny felt awfully good about the way his team played in a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jakob Junis ran his scoreless streak to 14 innings. The offence pumped out five extra-base hits, stringing enough together to produce a seven-run lead. And when Kansas City's bullpen was on the ropes, Scott Barlow retired hot-hitting Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to leave the potential tying run on base and earn the save.

All of which left Matheny stumped when he walked into the post-game clubhouse Thursday night.

"There was no music," he said. "I heard people yelling at Brady Singer — I don't know if they've made him the impromptu DJ, but he dropped the ball. I was a little disappointed. I wondered if they didn't think that was a good enough win."

Maybe they're just becoming the norm.

The Royals have won three straight and four of five to take over first place in the AL Central.

Junis (1-0) was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk while pitching into the sixth, but both his runs scored with reliever Jake Newberry on the mound. Kyle Zimmer also gave up a run before Barlow finished things off.

"Any time you're winning ballgames, it's always really fun in the clubhouse," Barlow said. "The team looks really good, you know? Watching the hitters do their thing tonight was really fun. It's been fun to watch."

All players wore No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.

Earlier, manager Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers started the day with a private tribute to the Hall of Famer and civil rights advocate.

Wearing their No. 42 jerseys in honour of the Brooklyn Dodgers great, on-field personnel and others from the organization — approximately 75 in total — gathered around the Jackie Robinson statute at Dodger Stadium to pay their respects.

"It was great," Roberts said. "Any time you can get the players and staff, front office and ownership, with a central thought and moment of recognition for Jackie Robinson Day, I thought it was special. It's something the Dodgers plan on doing every year as far as gathering around Jackie to pay our respects and love of Jackie."

"As a Dodger, it's rewarding to wear No. 42 and bring his name and legacy to life. It's something we're looking forward to," he said.

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 spot starter Anthony Kay (0-1), who gave up five runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"I felt like I made a bunch of good pitches," he said. "They were just finding holes, and sometimes that's just how it is."

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 spacious 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 got 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 doubles. And Whit Merrifield capped the four-run frame with a two-run double for a 7-0 lead.

Junis' streak of 14 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.

Toronto got another back on Guerrero's home run before Barlow and the bullpen wrapped things up.

And the music finally got started in the Kansas City clubhouse.

"They picked it up as I was walking out of there," Matheny said with a wry smile. "I don't know what they were playing. I don't know any of those songs."

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now