Blue Jays aim for sweep of Royals (Apr 18, 2018)

April 18, 2018

TORONTO -- After being swept in a doubleheader on Tuesday by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Kansas City Royals will try to avoid a three-game series sweep Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

Despite building a 3-0 lead behind six shutout innings by left-hander Danny Duffy in the second game on Tuesday, the Royals lost in 10 innings, 5-4 on Luke Maile's game-ending RBI single.

The Royals (3-12) have lost seven in a row, their longest losing streak since they lost nine in a row April 20-30 last season.

"It's been a rough stretch but we're going to keep fighting," Duffy said. "We've got a bunch of grinders in here."

The Blue Jays (11-5) have won three in a row after taking a doubleheader from the Royals for the first time in franchise history.

The Royals will start right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-1, 1.00 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.94) in the series finale.

The doubleheader was necessary because falling ice damaged the retractable roof of the Rogers Centre, forcing postponement of the game on Monday. It was the third straight postponement for the Blue Jays, including Saturday and Sunday in Cleveland.

It is the third doubleheader played in the history of the Rogers Centre, which opened in June of 1989, and the third sweep by the Blue Jays.

The Royals also had their game postponed Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

Happ was listed to pitch the second game Tuesday but Joe Biagini was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make that start instead as the 26th man allowed in those circumstances.

Biagini allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his first start with Toronto this season and made a career-high 106 pitches.

Happ, who will be making his fourth start of the season, is 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA, in six career starts against the Royals.

He was Toronto's Opening Day starter and took the loss against the New York Yankees. Over his past two starts, he is 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA.

Kennedy also will be making his fourth start of the season. He took the loss against the Los Angeles Angels Thursday despite allowing only one run on seven hits over six innings.

He is 0-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays had some positive results beyond the two wins on Tuesday.

Struggling right fielder Randal Grichuk hit a three-run homer in the first game, which Toronto won 4-3. He also doubled for his first two-hit game of the season. He entered the game batting .071 (3-for-42) on the season with one homer.

"It's an understatement to say that he needed that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He has been pressing big time. Grinding. That's huge. We got him for a reason. We see a lot of good things in him. You see his talent. He can be a force in baseball. The way he plays the outfield, he runs, and he has got some big-time power. He definitely needed that, so hopefully he breathes a little bit easier now."

Among the other positives for the Blue Jays, backup catcher Maile had three RBIs in the second game, including that game-ending RBI single in the 10th, and has a five-game hitting streak.

Struggling second baseman Devon Travis was 3-for-5 with an RBI over the two games and Kevin Pillar, who scored the winning run in the second game, was 3-for-8 in the doubleheader and has an eight-game hitting streak.

Former Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins, who was signed in the offseason by the Royals, was given an ovation when he entered the first game in the bottom of the seventh, his first appearance at the Rogers Centre as an opposing player. He also started the second game Tuesday at second base, going 0-for-5.

"It was cool to know that I have the respect of the fans that I came into the games and I played hard for," Goins said. "It kind of choked me up a little bit and caught me by surprise. But it was awesome, thank you to all the fans who came out. It made it special for sure."

Goins feels that things will begin to pick up for his new team.

"There's bounces here and there that are not going our way, that's just how baseball goes," Goins said, "but they'll start turning our way."

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will be trying to extend a nine-game hitting streak Wednesday after going 5-for-9 with a homer and two RBIs in the doubleheader.