KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals starting pitcher Jakob Junis put the Royals on a great track and the bullpen made sure things didn't go off the rails in the first game of Wednesday afternoon's doubleheader against Tampa Bay at Kauffman Stadium.
Junis posted his best start of the season and made his club's three runs stand tall for his third win of the season as the Royals beat the Rays, 3-2. The Royals improved to 3-7 in one-run games and evened the four-game series at a game apiece going into the second half of the doubleheader.
Junis has now allowed just two three runs in his last two starts (11 1/3 innings) against the Rays.
"Having some success in Tampa with that start, we kinda just went in sticking with the same game plan," Junis said. "We were going to adjust on the fly if we needed to. Not as many strikeouts today, obviously. They were probably sitting on my slider a little more, but we got outs when we needed to and got deep enough into the game to let the bullpen do their job."
The doubleheader came as a result of Tuesday night's game being postponed because of heavy rain, the first postponement of the season for the Royals.
The Royals scored three runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run home run by Adalberto Mondesi and a RBI ground out by Kelvin Gutierrez.
The Rays pulled within a run in the top of the second on Willy Adames' two-run double.
Junis scattered six hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings to match his longest outing of the season, against Cleveland on April 14. He struck out two and remained efficient, throwing 89 pitches, 56 for strikes.
The Rays had the makings of a potentially game-changing inning when the first two batters reached base in the fourth. However, the third batter, Kevin Kiermaier, hit a fly ball to left field which Alex Gordon tracked down running towards the wall. Gordon relayed it into the infield where on second to get the trail runner, Avisail Garcia, out. Garcia stepped on second base and was ruled out for a double play.
"That play was huge," Junis said. "First and second no outs. Gordo makes a great play. We end up getting two out of it. Getting out of the inning with no runs was big time."
Jake Diekman and Ian Kennedy combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Kennedy pitched the final two innings to pick up his second save.