The Kansas City Royals remain in striking distance of the final wild card in the American League but are showing no signs of being able to make up ground with only 12 games left in the season. The sliding Royals have dropped three in a row and five of six games entering the second of a three-game set at the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Kansas City dropped three of four in Cleveland to open its 11-game road trip before dropping the series opener to Toronto 5-2 to remain 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the second wild card. Alex Gordon provided the highlight with a solo home run that was noteworthy only because it was the 5,694th of the 2017 season, setting a major league record for most homers in a year. Darwin Barney homered and drove in three runs to register his fifth multiple-hit game in the last 10 for the Blue Jays, who are 2 1/2 games behind the Royals. Josh Donaldson, who homered five times in his previous three contests, is 13-for-28 during a seven-game hitting streak.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Jake Junis (7-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Blue Jays LH Brett Anderson (3-3, 5.73)
Junis did not factor in the decision last time out but slowed the Cleveland Indians, giving up one run on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings to remain unbeaten since June 29. The 25-year-old has not permitted more than three runs in each of his last seven starts, logging a 4-0 record in that span. Junis has avoided the big mistake during his unbeaten streak, giving up three homers in his last nine outings.
Anderson had his shortest stint in four starts since moving into Toronto’s rotation, allowing two runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings at Minnesota. He was 1-1 in his previous three turns, giving up a total of six runs in 17 2/3 innings, and owns a 3.27 ERA with the Blue Jays. Melky Cabrera is 4-for-7 with a home run against the 29-year-old Anderson, who has won both career starts against Kansas City.
1. Blue Jays RHP Roberto Osuna set a career best with his 37th save, eclipsing his previous high from a year ago.
2. Royals 2B Whit Merrifield owns a five-game hitting streak and a 16-game on-base streak.
3. Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista struck out for the 159th time, tying the franchise mark held by Jose Canseco and Kelly Johnson.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 4, Royals 3