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Shaky Royals bullpen hangs on for 7-5 win over Blue Jays

Jakob Junis ran his consecutive scoreless streak to 14 innings as the Royals staked him to a seven-run lead Thursday night, and a shaky Kansas City bullpen held on after giving most of it back for a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Junis (1-0) was charged with two runs on five hits and a walk while pitching into the sixth, but both runs scored with reliever Jake Newberry on the mound.

Kyle Zimmer gave up a run, and Scott Barlow put two on with one out in the ninth before getting Bo Bichette to pop out and striking out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for his first save.

Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield, right, celebrates with Carlos Santana after he scored on a double by Andrew Benintendi during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)

Guerrero finished a triple shy of the cycle for the Blue Jays. The highlight for them was his two-out homer in the seventh that soared over the fountains in left field and landed an estimated 456 feet from home plate.

It certainly wasn't Toronto spot-starter Anthony Kay (0-1), who gave up five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The Royals had been in an offensive slumber before breaking out against the Angels on Wednesday. A lineup built to drive the ball into the spacious gaps at Kauffman Stadium continued to pile up the extra-base hits Thursday night.

Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. chases an RBI-triple by Kansas City Royals' Nicky Lopez during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)

Andrew Benintendi began the scoring with an RBI double before Kay even recorded an out. Nicky Lopez continued with an RBI triple in the third — then scored on an error by third baseman Cavan Biggio. But the big blow to the Blue Jays came in the fifth, when four of the first six batters that Kansas City sent to the plate dropped doubles into the outfield.

Jorge Soler led off with the 100th double of his career. Hunter Dozier and Hanser Alberto followed with one-out doubles. And Whit Merrifield capped the four-run frame with a two-run double for a 7-0 lead.

Junis' streak of 14 straight scoreless innings to start the season finally ended in the sixth, when Newberry allowed both of the runners he inherited to score during what became a four-run inning for the Blue Jays.

Kansas City Royals' Nicky Lopez watches his RBI-triple during the third inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)

ROSTER MOVES

The Blue Jays put RHPs Ross Stripling (right flexor strain) and Jordan Romano (right ulnar neuritis) on the injured list before the game. Kay was recalled from the alternate training site along with RHP Joel Payamps, who pitched in relief.

“It was tightness," manager Charlie Montoyo said of Stripling, the fourth Blue Jays starter to land on the IL. "We don't think it's that bad but it's not good enough for him to pitch in 10 days, we know that for sure.”

Kansas City Royals' Hanser Alberto, left, and Nicky Lopez celebrate after they scored when Whit Merrifield reached on a fielding error by Toronto Blue Jays' Cavan Biggio during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Biggio left in the fifth inning with pain in his right hand. Joe Panik replaced him and hit a two-run double.

Royals: SS Adalberto Mondesi has ramped up his movement but there remains no timetable for his return, manager Mike Matheny said. Mondesi has been on the injured list with a strained right oblique since the start of the season.

Kansas City Royals' Jorge Soler, left, beats the tag by Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Cavan Biggio to advance to third on a flyout by Michael A. Taylor during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)

UP NEXT

The Blue Jays will send LHP Steven Matz (2-0, 1.46 ERA) against Royals RHP Mike Minor (1-0, 4.50) on Friday night unless rain forecasted to last most of the day washes things out. Minor is 4-0 in seven career appearances against Toronto.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo walks back to the dugout after making a pitching change during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP PhotoCharlie Riedel)