KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Jakob Junis was bound to give up a run at some point this season.And the red-hot Angels were more than happy to oblige, belting three home runs -- including a mammoth shot by Michael Trout -- on their way to a 5-3 win over the
KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Jakob Junis was bound to give up a run at some point this season.
And the red-hot Angels were more than happy to oblige, belting three home runs -- including a mammoth shot by Michael Trout -- on their way to a 5-3 win over the Royals at blistery Kauffman Stadium on Saturday night.
Wind chills dipped below 30 degrees as the game progressed, as a strong northerly wind pushed snow and rain into the area.
Junis was perfect through the first two innings, extending his scoreless streak to 16 frames, the third-longest streak by a Royals starter to open the season. Zack Greinke holds the club record with 20 straight in 2009.
Junis' streak ended in the third when Luis Valbuena ripped a homer run to right on a 2-1 sinker. Justin Upton then smashed a 1-0 curveball into the left-field seats to open the fourth.
And Trout mauled a 2-2 slider with a man on in the fifth, a 439-foot homer off the Royals' Hall of Fame building in left field.
Junis' night ended shortly thereafter, finishing after 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four earned runs, one walk, and striking out seven.
Mike Moustakas hit his third home run for the Royals amidst the snow in the eighth inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First-pitch swinging: The Royals were threatening to make a game of it in the fifth when Angels starter Garrett Richards lost his arm slot and began bouncing pitches to the backstop. Richards walked Lucas Duda, then threw a wild pitch. With one out, Paulo Orlando got the Royals' first hit, a single to right as Duda advanced to third. Moments later, a wild pitch moved Orlando to second as Duda held at third. Moments after that, a third wild pitch plated Duda and pushed Orlando to third. Ryan Goins then drew a walk. But Escobar helped Richards out and ended the rally by suddenly swinging at the first pitch in his at-bat, rolling into a 5-4-3 double play.
Just missed: The Royals mounted another rally in the seventh. Jorge Soler singled, Orlando walked and Andrew Butera drove in a run with a single. A walk loaded the bases and Whit Merrifield drove a deep fly that seemed to die just before the warning track in the midst of a wind-driven snow.
Merrifield hit it 90 mph, per Statcast™.
"I've hit balls worse than that that have been homers," Merrifield said. "But a day like today, it's probably going to get held up in the wind."
Merrifield made his first big league start in center field for the Royals on Saturday, and became the first player in the Majors this season to start at five different positions, including DH.
HE SAID IT
"Under (Moustakas') leadership, under Lucas Duda's leadership, Jonathan Jay in there. That locker room -- they're maintaining a very steady amount of level-headedness, if you will. They continue to battle. As long as they continue to push and battle, they're gonna get through it and they know it. It's evident with the way they're competing every single day, at least to my eyes. I still feel like this team is gonna get it together, and we're gonna get on a little bit of a run." -- Royals manager Ned Yost on the team's 3-10 start
The Royals and Angels wrap up the four-game series on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium and both teams will honor the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. All players, managers, coaches and umpires will wear Robinson's No. 42. Left-hander Eric Skoglund (0-1, 9.64 ERA) will start for the Royals and be opposed by right-hander Shohei Ohtani (2-0, 2.08 ERA).
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.