The Royals dropped the series finale, 4-2, to Cleveland on Wednesday after José Ramírez smacked two home runs late.
Kansas City faced a tall task in besting reigning American League Cy Young winner Shane Bieber, whom they’d never beaten in seven starts. Early on, the right-hander showed no signs of being “off his game”. Through the first three innings, Bieber struck out six Royals hitters and allowed one hit.
On the other side, Kansas City gave Jakob Junis the nod for his first start of the season— though he’d already made two appearances out of the bullpen this year. To the surprise of many, Junis went toe-to-toe with Bieber. The 28-year-old logged five shutout innings with six strikeouts and just two walks.
Jakob Junis has made his claim for the rotation. Impressive outing. And with just two days rest since his last outing. pic.twitter.com/nEgYqmNIG5— Royals Review (@royalsreview) April 7, 2021
The Royals picked up their first run off Bieber in two years in the top of the fourth. After drawing his third walk of the season in the top of the first, Salvador Perez didn’t waste time working the count in his second at-bat. On the first pitch, Perez blasted a hanging slider to deep center field and into the trees for 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mike Matheny made the move to bring on Jesse Hahn. Hahn, who picked up the save on Monday, didn’t have as successful of an outing. With two outs and a runner on first, Hahn served up a fastball down the middle to José Ramírez, who belted it deep into the right field bleachers for Cleveland’s first lead of the series.
Kansas City, however, didn’t waste time tying things up. With Bieber nearing 100 pitches, rookie Kyle Isbel worked a full count and drew a walk. On the next at-bat, Michael A. Taylor smoked a two-strike single to left field — ending Biebers day at 6 1⁄3 innings. Looking to tie things up, Nicky Lopez ripped the first pitch he saw from James Karinchak into right-center field to score Isbel. In the bottom half of the inning, Scott Barlow worked around a jam by striking out the side.
In the bottom of the eighth, Ramírez hurt the Royals again. After Holland walked the lead-off hitter on four pitches, Ramírez mimicked his at-bat in the sixth and smashed a two-run shot to right field — giving the Indians a 4-2 lead for good.
Tomorrow, the Royals will begin a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago. Brad Keller will get the ball and face Lance Lynn. First pitch is slated for 3:10 p.m. CDT.