Swept at home, Royals face familiar issue in loss to Blue Jays

Blue Jays 4 Royals 1

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Sometimes, baseball can be a simple game.

Toronto’s 4-1 victory over the Royals on Wednesday afternoon —completing a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium —only further solidified a truth about today’s baseball landscape:

It’s awfully tough to win if you’re on the wrong side of the home run battle.

The Blue Jays knocked two more over the wall Wednesday, continuing a season-long trend against the Royals.

In going 6-1 against KC, Toronto outhomered the Royals in every game. In total, the Blue Jays hit 18 home runs compared to KC’s four.

“It’s a crazy game sometimes. It can really frustrate you when you just can’t seem to catch a break or find a hole,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “That’s what it was today.”

Royals starter Jakob Junis was efficient and effective early before running into familiar issues when facing the order a third and fourth time.

Freddy Galvis’ 415-foot home run in the seventh broke a 1-all tie, continuing to carry to center field on a day when many of the Royals’ struck balls seemed to die at the wall.

“How Galvis’ ball got out of the ballpark, I’ll never know,” Yost said. “I didn’t think that ball was hit well. It was hit a lot better than I thought it was.”

Bo Bichette then led off the eighth with a solo shot —the first homer of his big league career.

The Royals could only answer with one home run of their own. Cam Gallagher provided KC’s only tally in the third, reaching out to drive a Jacob Waguespack slider just over the reach of left-fielder Lourdes Gurriel into the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

Some of KC’s lack of run production could be blamed on misfortune. For instance, Jorge Soler had a 115 mph, first-inning ball sail 386 feet to left only to be chased down by Gurriel. Hunter Dozier also had a deep third-inning smash to right-center that was knocked down by the wind, with center-fielder Randal Grichuk snaring it while running on the warning track.

“Good gosh almighty, (Soler’s) ball was smoked. And Dozier’s ball was smoked,” Yost said. “We were hitting balls hard.”

In the end, though, it remained a disappointing offensive day against a non-dominant starter. Waguespack not only had his longest outing of the season Wednesday (six innings), but it was also the first time in six appearances that he’d allowed fewer than three runs.

“That’s baseball,” Dozier said of the Royals’ hitting luck. “We put together good at-bats. That’s really all we can control.”

Junis’ final line was this: seven innings, four earned runs and six strikeouts with two walks. Those numbers didn’t reflect how well he threw early, as each of those four tallies came in the sixth inning or later.

Yost even commented afterward that Junis threw a “helluva ballgame.”

“It was very, very frustrating,” Junis said of the end of his outing. “Cruising, getting ahead and keeping the pitch count down. I just gave up a couple of homers late … “

The Royals, who lost six of seven on the homestand while falling to 40-70, will have an off day before starting a 10-game road trip with a series at Minnesota.

They’ll head there likely believing Wednesday could’ve produced better results.

“The first two games I didn’t feel like we swung the bats well. We left runners on and just didn’t swing the bats well,” Yost said. “Today, we didn’t have anything to show for it. I thought we swung the bats really, really well.”

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