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Junis finds 'it was just a grind' against Tribe

Royals right-hander logs 38 pitches in pivotal 5-run 3rd
@FlannyMLB
July 3, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- One bad inning doomed the Royals and right-hander Jakob Junis on Tuesday night. Junis needed 38 pitches to navigate through a five-run third inning and the Indians held on for a 9-5 win at Kauffman Stadium. Junis threw 108 pitches in fewer than five innings of work.

KANSAS CITY -- One bad inning doomed the Royals and right-hander Jakob Junis on Tuesday night.

Junis needed 38 pitches to navigate through a five-run third inning and the Indians held on for a 9-5 win at Kauffman Stadium. Junis threw 108 pitches in fewer than five innings of work.

“It was just a grind,” Junis said. “I threw a lot more pitches than I’d hope for. A lot of foul balls. A lot of long at-bats. It’s just gonna happen sometimes, I guess. I just have to battle through it and keep making pitches as best you can.”

Box score

The Tribe had to hold back a spirited Royals rally in the seventh. Trailing 7-3, Kansas City loaded the bases with none out. Adalberto Mondesi, fresh off the injured list, hit a sacrifice fly and then Alex Gordon singled in another run.

The Royals then fell into some bad luck. With runners at the corners, Hunter Dozier scorched a liner at 100 mph, according to Statcast, that was caught by leaping shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Jorge Soler, who earlier belted his 23rd home run, ripped a liner to center at 114 mph that Oscar Mercado made a leaping grab on.

“Yeah, that’s baseball,” Dozier said of the bad luck. “Hopefully, we’ll get some bloops in here soon.”

Dozier was also involved in another key moment. He tripled leading off the sixth, but he was thrown out trying to run home when the ball scooted away briefly from third baseman Jose Ramirez.

“It was all reaction,” Dozier said. “I heard [third-base coach Mike Jirschele] say, ‘Stop.’ But I saw Ramirez go back for the ball. My reaction took over. Stupid play by me. I’ve got to look at the scoreboard and understand the situation. If I stay at third, Soler gets me home.”

Royals manager Ned Yost agreed, “The Dozier one was a nice try. But no. Not down four. You love the thought behind it. You love the intensity that the young guys are really trying to do things. But you’re down four. You gotta play it safe there. The reward’s not worth the risk there. You gotta hold tight, especially with no outs.”

Junis went 4 2/3 innings and he gave up six hits and seven runs (six earned). He walked two and struck out four.

“I threw some good changeups tonight,” Junis said. “We mixed it in pretty well. I never got hurt on them. I stole some strikes with it. I was still looking for that one that they could weakly put in play and get a ground ball, or swing and miss, when I needed it.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.