Royals eye series win over Cards as Junis returns

MLB

The visiting Kansas City Royals will try to win their second series of the season when they face the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

The Royals rallied for a 5-4 victory Tuesday night at Busch Stadium after opening the three-game series with a 9-3 loss Monday. Their only previous series victory came with a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins from Aug. 7-9.

Kansas City will start Jakob Junis (0-0, 4.00 ERA), who is returning from a bout with back spasms. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 7, when he allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings during the Royals’ 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

In two career starts against the Cardinals, Junis allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out 15 batters in 11 innings.

He is eager to start working deep into games.

“I know that the third time through the lineup was a little bit of a discussion,” Junis said. “I think that’s somewhere where I’ve been hurt in the past a couple games, maybe that third time through the lineup trying to get through that sixth inning where I really just need to shut the door and I haven’t done that. But there’s also times where I do.

“It’s just one of those things that you can always improve on and try to close that door at the end of games before you come out. I think any guy is going to want to get the ball from the beginning to the end. Me, personally, I want to take the ball from that first out to that 18th through 21st out whether I face the lineup three or four or five times.”

Danny Duffy was in line to start Wednesday’s game, but Royals manager Mike Matheny pushed him back. Duffy lost steam during his last start, a 7-2 victory over the Twins on Friday, and has experienced some forearm fatigue.

“We have that off day on Thursday, and that would give him a couple of extra days,” Matheny said. “We don’t think it is anything serious right now, and just a little rest could help.”

The Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson (0-2. 3.46 ERA), who has failed to complete five innings in each of his three starts this season. He limited the Cincinnati Reds to one hit in 4 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday before reaching his pitch limit.

Hudson would have preferred to soldier on in that game, but he understood manager Mike Shildt’s decision to yank him after 74 pitches.

“He’s doing his job and trying to protect me,” Hudson said. “I want that ball every time. I’m not going to be upset about it, but I am upset internally. He’s managing and he’s doing a good job, so I’m just going to let him do what he does.”

Hudson won his only start against the Royals last season, blanking them for six innings on five hits and two walks. He is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two career appearances against them.

Royals batters Ryan O’Hearn (2-for-2 double), Adalberto Mondesi (1-for-1), Meibrys Viloria (1-for-2, double) and Hunter Dozier (1-for-3) have hit well against Hudson.

The Royals made a roster move Tuesday, placing pitcher Tyler Zuber on the family emergency/bereavement list due to the death of his grandmother. They replaced him with pitcher Jake Newberry, who threw 1 1/3 scoreless relief innings Tuesday night.

–Field Level Media

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