Royals hope Junis can build off last year’s strong rookie season

DETROIT — Ron Gardenhire picked up his first victory as Detroit Tigers manager and Kansas City counterpart Ned Yost is still looking for his first win of 2018.

Detroit posted a 6-1 victory over winless Kansas City on Monday afternoon to hand Gardenhire his first win after three season-opening losses.

“It means a lot to myself and my coaching staff,” Gardenhire said. “We’re here for a reason.

“We want these guys to play the game the right way and they’ve been doing that. It’s been a little bit of hard work here the first 3-4 days. To finally get a win is a relief for everybody.

“I know what this city’s all about and I know what this team’s all about. Now I’m in their history books. I’ve got one win.”

Iffy weather in the forecast for Tuesday in Detroit may push Kansas City’s quest for its first win of the season back to Wednesday afternoon. Royals starter Jason Hammel was on the mound during Monday’s loss when the Tigers scored four runs in the fifth inning.

“Today was one of those maddening games where I feel like I executed the game plan pretty well,” Hammel said, according to the team’s website. “It just didn’t go our way. Everything felt great. I felt really good. But it’s frustrating when you feel that good and come away with a loss.”

Yost’s Royals made a roster move that won’t affect things at the major league level immediately.

Kansas City claimed outfielder Abraham Almonte off waivers after he’d been designated for assignment by Cleveland and optioned him to Triple-A Omaha.

To clear a roster spot, the Royals designated another Almonte, right-handed pitcher Miguel, 24, for assignment. Kansas City could retain their prospect by assigning him to the minors if he clears waivers.

Abraham Almonte is a switch-hitter who could fill a variety of roles for Kansas City at some point. He could DH or play right field, with Jon Jay moving to center.

Almonte, 29, is a .246 hitter in parts of five major league seasons with a total of 14 home runs and 84 RBIs. Last season, he played 69 games, batting .233 with three homers and 14 RBIs.

Right-hander Jakob Junis (9-3, 4.30 ERA last year) is scheduled to make his first start of the season against Detroit on Tuesday. He was 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three games against the Tigers in his rookie campaign, starting two of the three games he pitched against them.

Detroit is scheduled to pitch left-hander Matthew Boyd (6-11, 5.27 ERA in 2017) against Kansas City.

Boyd started three games against the Royals last year, going 1-1 with a 6.32 ERA. In his short career, the left-hander is 2-4 with a 7.91 ERA against Kansas City in nine starts.

Royals first baseman Lucas Dudas left Monday’s game after seven innings with a mild right hamstring strain. He was removed as a precautionary measure and could miss a game for the same reason.

Chesler Cuthbert, a normal third baseman, took Dudas’ place at first.

Detroit Rule 5 pick outfielder Victor Reyes missed the game after suffering an eight-stitch cut on his left forearm Sunday in a collision with shortstop Jose Iglesias. The Tigers will wait another day or two to see whether Reyes will have to be put on the disabled list.

Iglesias, who suffered leg and ankle strains on the play, was held out of Monday’s game. Gardenhire explained that he wanted to give the shortstop time to heal after playing 18 innings Sunday.