Major League Baseball

Royals look to break through on road in Toronto

mlb2ROYALS (28-55) AT BLUE JAYS (31-52)
1:07 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, OMNI, FSKC, MLB.TV

The Kansas City Royals will try to reverse their road woes Sunday afternoon when go for their first win in their four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Royals will start right-hander Brad Keller (3-9, 4.32 ERA) against Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-10, 5.89).

The Blue Jays have won the first two games of the series between two teams trying to avoid 100-loss seasons after Danny Jansen‘s two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning Saturday gave them a 7-5 victory.

It came on a 3-2 pitch from Scott Barlow with Randal Grichuk on first via a leadoff walk.

“He had to make contact because the runner was going — and he did,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters of Jansen’s at-bat after the game Saturday.

The Royals dropped to 1-4 on their seven-game road trip and are 12-30 on the road for the season. The Blue Jays have not been particularly good at home, either — though they have won three in a row at Rogers Centre after losing seven straight there. Overall, they are 15-25 at home.

Dating to 2014, the Royals are 3-14 in their last 17 regular-season games in Toronto and have been outscored 111-63 in those games.

The Blue Jays had a scare after starter Marcus Stroman made two pitches in the fifth inning, both balls. Following a visit from the trainer, he left the game. It was later diagnosed as a left shoulder pectoral cramp.

“He’s not going to miss any time,” Montoyo said. “He camped up and couldn’t get loose. He’ll be fine for his next start.”

Not only has Stroman been Toronto’s most consistent starter, he is considered a candidate to be traded this summer.

On another front, Montoyo said that closer Ken Giles is fine. It had been decided before the game that he would not be used Saturday after he had pitched an inning on Friday. He was reinstated from the injured list (elbow inflammation) on Wednesday and Montoyo said he did not want to use him in back-to-back outings yet. So Daniel Hudson was used to close the game but gave up the tying run in the ninth to get a blown save — and then the win.

Both the Royals and Blue Jays are rebuilding, four years after Kansas City won the ALCS from Toronto and went on to win the 2015 World Series.

“We try to win every day, but the most important thing for me is the development of the young guys,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Because if you go back and look, I don’t remember a rebuilding team that played .500 that ever won a World Series. You’ll play .500 eventually, but to try to rebuild and win at the same time is really difficult.

“It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You want to play .500? You want 85 wins? Or you want to win a world championship? I want to win a world championship again. The way we’ve done it in the past is exactly the way we’re doing it now.”

Keller will attempt to end a six-start winless streak Sunday. He took a no-decision Monday in Cleveland, pitching three innings before a rain delay ended his day.

He is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three career games (one start) against Toronto.

Sanchez will be trying to end a streak of nine straight losing decisions. He last faced the Royals in 2016. He is 1-1’with a 3.24 ERA in five games (two starts) against the Royals.

–Field Level Media

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