Jakob Junis pitches another gem as Royals edge Indians, 1-0

Lynn Worthy, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

CLEVELAND -- Royals starting pitcher Jakob Junis and Indians starter Adam Plutko held the opposing offenses almost entirely silent, but Hunter Dozier's 15th home run of the season -- a solo shot in the first inning that kept carrying into the right-field stands -- provided all the offense required to decide the ballgame.

Junis and the bullpen contingent of Scott Barlow, Jake Diekman and Ian Kennedy kept the Cleveland Indians out of the scoring column as the Royals picked up a 1-0 win in front of an announced 31,958 at Progressive Field for the second game of a three-game series.

The Royals have now won seven of nine games since the All-Star break, and they evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday afternoon's rubber match.

Junis allowed two hits and walked three in six scoreless innings. He struck out seven and retired 12 in a row before two men reached in the sixth.

Junis, coming off of a career-high 10 strikeouts in his previous start against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium, faced the Indians for the fourth time this season.

Junis (6-8) gave up just one hit and two walks through the first five innings. The second time through the lineup, he struck out six (four swinging) as he protected a 1-0 lead.

In the sixth, Billy Hamilton threw his hat in the ring for catch of the year when he went up the wall in center field and robbed what was perhaps a game-tying homer and at least an extra-base hit from Francisco Lindor.

Junis allowed two runners to reach in that inning via a walk and a single, but he struck out Jose Ramirez on a called third strike to strand both men on base.

The Royals missed out on an opportunity to tack on a run in the eighth after a leadoff double by Cam Gallagher. With Gallagher on second, Hamilton whiffed on a bunt attempt and Indians catcher Roberto Perez alertly threw down to second and caught Gallagher straying too far from the bag.


Gallagher got caught in a rundown, and Hamilton struck out shortly thereafter.

Instead of possibly having Gallagher on third and one out with Whit Merrifield coming up in an RBI situation, Merrifield came up with two outs and no one on base.

Merrifield and Alex Gordon reached on singles, but Dozier hit an inning-ending fly ball to right field.

In the top of the ninth, a bunt attempt by Humberto Arteaga with runners on first and second and no outs turned into a double play to wipe away another promising scoring chance for the Royals.

However, Royals closer Ian Kennedy pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his 17th save of the season.

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