Jay looks to keep 12-game hit streak alive against A’s

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jon Jay can only hope his June goes as well as his May.

Jay will take a 12-game hitting streak into Friday night when the Kansas City Royals face the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a home weekend series.

Jay is hitting .360 (18-for-50) in the hitting streak, matching his longest since a 12-game streak in 2014. Only Mike Moustakas has a longer hitting streak for the Royals this season, a 14-gamer in April.

“I don’t think about any of that stuff,” Jay said. “I just show up every day and try to be consistent with my routine. That’s it.”

Jay put together a spectacular May. In 28 games, he hit .368 with a .402 on-base percentage. Only Hall of Famer George Brett, 48 in 1976 and 47 in 1979, had more hits in May for the Royals than Jay’s 43.

The last Royals player with more than 43 hits in any month was Johnny Damon in August 2004. He wound up with 214 hits that season.

While Jay had three doubles in a four-hit game on Memorial Day, he tops the majors with 57 singles.

“He’s a professional hitter, which is one of the highest compliments you can give any hitter,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He hits left-handers equally as well as right-handers. He’s been a consistent .290 to .300 hitter throughout his career.

“We look for a catalyst, a table-setter at the top of our lineup, and Jon Jay has definitely done that.”

The Royals are coming off a series victory over the Minnesota Twins, taking two of three.

Veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy will start the first game against the Athletics. Kennedy is 1-5 with a 5.15 ERA in 11 starts. Right-handers are batting .298 and left-handers .288 against him.

Kennedy had a no-decision in his previous start, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings against the Rangers. He is winless in his last nine starts. He is 0-5 with a 6.31 ERA since an April 7 victory at Cleveland.

The A’s come to town with Khris Davis back in the middle of their lineup. He was reinstated off the disabled list Thursday and went 1-for-3 with a double, scored a run and walked in Oakland’s 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Oakland.

“Just having him in the lineup is a comfort to everybody else,” Melvin said after Thursday’s game. “The lineup plays out a little differently with him in it, and to an extent maybe there’s a little psychology to it that, ‘Maybe I don’t have to do a little bit more than is expected of me.'”

Right-hander Frankie Montas will start for Oakland. He was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Nashville and made his 2018 debut that day, picking up a 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He allowed one run and three hits while walking two and striking out seven in a career-high seven innings.

It was Montas’ first A’s start, but the third of his career. His previous major league experience includes 23 bullpen outings last year with Oakland and seven games, including two starts, in 2015 with the Chicago White Sox.

He has faced the Royals only one time, on April 12, 2017, at Kauffman Stadium. He allowed one run on a homer with one strikeout in an inning of relief.