Royals end scoreless drought at 45 innings, beat Rays 6-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Whit Merrifield, Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer homered as the Kansas City Royals snapped a 45-inning scoreless streak on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Merrifield’s 16th home run with two outs in the third ended the Royals’ drought, three innings shy of the major league record. The 1906 Philadelphia Athletics and 1968 Chicago Cubs share the mark with 48 scoreless innings in a row.
Royals rookie Jake Junis (6-2) did not allow a hit until a one-out single in the fifth. He struck out a career-high eight and walked none over 5 2/3 innings. Junis is 4-0 in his last six appearances.
Hosmer’s three-run homer, his 22nd, in the seventh off left-hander Dan Jennings gave the Royals a cushion. Bonifacio connected with two outs in the sixth off Alex Cobb (9-9).
Cobb gave up a run on three singles and three wild pitches in the fourth. Hosmer scored on Mike Moustakas’ single, but the Royals stranded runners at second and third.
Junis was removed after giving up Evan Longoria’s single. Scott Alexander yielded a run-scoring single to Logan Morrison and walked Steven Souza Jr. to load the bases. Corey Dickerson’s groundout ended the inning.
Brad Miller homered off Brandon Maurer in the seventh, cutting Kansas City’s lead to 3-2.
The Royals won three replay challenges in the first six innings. The first two reversals in the first and fifth gave Lorenzo Cain infield singles after he had initially been called out. In the sixth, Lucas Duda struck out swinging on a pitch that hit him. Kevin Kiermaier stole second on the play, but after a review was sent back to first because the ball was ruled dead after hitting Duda in the foot.
KUNTZ IN DUGOUT
Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz is having vision problems after eye surgery and will be in the dugout the rest of the season setting outfield alignments. Kansas City manager Ned Yost said Kuntz never saw three balls hit toward right field Monday, including one that missed him by about 5 feet. “It’s just getting to a point now where it’s just dangerous for him to be out there,” Yost said. “We don’t want to take a chance of having anything serious happening.” Catching coach Pedro Grifol replaced Kuntz in the coach’s box at first.
Royals LHP Brian Flynn was placed on the disabled list after one outing. He strained his left groin Monday. LHP Eric Skoglund was recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi, who starts the series finale, has failed to get out of the fourth inning in his previous two starts.
Royals: All-Star LHP Jason Vargas is 2-5 with a 6.69 ERA in his past eight starts.