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Missed opportunities come back to haunt Royals

Junis posts quality start, but KC's comeback bid falls short
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals certainly had enough chances. They wasted numerous scoring opportunities, going just 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position, in an 8-5 loss to the Twins on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals had the bases loaded and one out in the second and didn't score. They had a leadoff double in the third and didn't score. They had runners on first and second and one out in the fourth and didn't score.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals certainly had enough chances. They wasted numerous scoring opportunities, going just 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position, in an 8-5 loss to the Twins on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals had the bases loaded and one out in the second and didn't score. They had a leadoff double in the third and didn't score. They had runners on first and second and one out in the fourth and didn't score.

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"We had ample opportunities," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The bottom of the order could have helped us there."

Mike Moustakas finally broke the drought with a two-run double with no outs in the fifth. But he was also then stranded.

Jon Jay had three doubles for Kansas City, the first three-double game of his career. But his baserunning gaffe on his third double -- he tried to advance to third on a grounder to short with none out -- cost the Royals a runner in scoring position in the seventh.

"Mistake. And he knows it," Yost said. "The funny thing about it is he works as hard as anybody on this team on his baserunning. He does it every day, every single day, takes his fly balls and goes and works on the baserunning aspect. He just tried to push the envelope a little too much."

Added Jay, "Just trying to be aggressive there with no outs. I saw the ball softly hit, but I got to be sure."

Royals right-hander Jakob Junis again was on his game, giving up three runs over six innings, marking the eighth time this season that Junis has given up three or fewer runs. He walked four and struck out seven.

Junis' biggest mistake was a 1-1 four-seam fastball that Miguel Sano smashed over the center-field wall for a two-run jack in the fifth inning. Before that, Junis thought his 0-1 fastball was a strike, which would have changed his pitch selection.

Video: MIN@KC: Sano crushes 2-run homer to center field

"I thought it was a strike, but didn't get the call, unfortunately," Junis said. "At 0-2, I would've automatically gone slider. But since it was 1-1, I thought I could catch him looking for a slider and get a fastball in, maybe get it fouled off or popped up, but he was on it and he got a hold of it. Looking back on it, probably should've thrown a slider either way."

The Twins put it away essentially in the eighth with Eddie Rosario's broken-bat three-run bloop double off Burch Smith, who deserved a better fate. With one out, Robbie Grossman reached on a popup that shortstop Alcides Escobar lost in the sky. After a walk and a strikeout, Brian Dozier reached on an infield single, loading the bases for Rosario.

Jorge Soler hit his seventh home run for the Royals in the ninth. It was the 6,000th home run in franchise history.

Video: MIN@KC: Soler launches solo home run to left field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Twins took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, with some soft offense. With one out, Mitch Garver rolled a single through the left side. Byron Buxton followed with a push bunt that went right to first baseman Hunter Dozier, who opted to get the out at first rather than try for a forceout of Garver at second. By the time Dozier, who is playing extensively for the first time in his career, reached the bag and fired a throw to second, Garver was safe. The extra base mattered as Brian Dozier followed with a bloop single to right, scoring Garver.

Video: MIN@KC: Dozier lifts RBI single to right-center

Yost, though, didn't second-guess Dozier's decision.

"You go ahead and take the out and go from there," Yost said. "It's a tough play, you're not going to throw to second and get him back at first. I think he did it fine. I don't have an issue with it."

SOUND SMART
Jay had his 10th career game with at least four hits. It was his second four-hit game this season -- the other was May 1 at Boston.

Video: MIN@KC: Jay records three doubles, four hits

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Royals review specialist Bill Duplissea performed his magic again, challenging a no-call with two out in the eighth when a pitch appeared to hit Escobar. After the challenge, it was ruled a hit-by-pitch, which ignited a two-run rally. Duplissea is now a Major League best 13-for-15 in challenges.

Video: MIN@KC: Escobar hit by pitch after overturned call

UP NEXT
Left-hander Danny Duffy (2-6, 6.14 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in Game 2 of the series against the Twins at 7:15 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-3, 4.02 ERA) will start for Minnesota. Duffy went a season-high 7 2/3 innings Thursday in Texas and gave up four hits and one run while striking out five in an 8-2 victory.

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

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