KANSAS CITY, Mo. (TNS) — Among a number of problems that have wrought havoc on this Royals season, two were on display Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Starter Jakob Junis is prone to giving up home runs and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has become a bonafide Royals killer who magnified the issues plaguing the Royals' sophomore pitcher.
Lindor hit a grand slam in the fourth inning of the Royals' 9-3 loss to the Indians. He added to the damage with a three-run homer in the sixth that chased Junis from the game after 5 1/3 innings.
Start after start, Junis has left pitches out over the plate that opponents have pulverized for home runs. He leads the majors having 24 this season. On Monday, he was once more victimized by homers, as Lindor drove in seven runs with a pair of swings that knocked back any progress the Royals' lineup had begun to make.
Junis has battled location for the better part of a month. He's allowed 32 earned runs and 12 homers in six starts since June 3 and has lost every decision. He's flirted with precision, striking out at least five batters in three of those outings.
But Monday night offered no such silver lining. Junis threw 94 pitches and only got the Indians to whiff at five of them, according to mlb.com's Statcast system. He couldn't make it to the sixth inning.
The trouble began in the third, when Rajai Davis started a two-run rally with a double down the third-base line. It continued in the fourth, as Junis loaded the bases in front of Lindor on a single and consecutive hit-by-pitches. Lindor hit the second grand slam of his career soon after.
Since 2015, Lindor has hit .342 (71 for 207) with 54 RBIs against the Royals.
A night that began with Whit Merrifield launching his first leadoff homer of the season and Mike Moustakas barreling through third base coach Mike Jirschele's stop sign on Salvador Perez's RBI single up the middle in the first inning ended with the Royals' 59th loss of the season.
They'll try again Tuesday, with Danny Duffy taking the mound opposite rookie Shane Bieber at 7:15 p.m.