Major League Baseball
Toronto at Kansas City
When: 8:15 PM ET, Friday, June 23, 2017
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas Royals have won nine of 11 contests to move within one game of .500 while the Toronto Blue Jays are 0-9 this season in their bid to even their record. The Royals will look to level their mark at the Blue Jays' expense on Friday when the clubs open a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvador Perez belted his first career grand slam in Wednesday's 6-4 victory over Boston to improve to 20-for-43 with four homers, 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last 12 games. The 2015 World Series Most Valuable Player has enjoyed a sterling June, but is just 2-for-9 in his career versus Friday starter J.A. Happ. Toronto settled for a split of its four-game series in Texas following Thursday's 11-4 setback. "It's been a battle trying to get back to that .500 mark. ... It seems we get knocked around pretty good on that day," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of his club, which has been outscored 73-24 in those nine losses.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One (Toronto), FSN Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (2-4, 4.26 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jake Junis (2-1, 5.56)

Happ has answered a slow start since coming off the disabled list with elbow inflammation to win back-to-back outings in sterling fashion. The 34-year-old scattered six hits and struck out eight over six innings in a 4-0 victory at Seattle on June 11 before fanning nine in 6 2/3 frames of a 7-2 triumph versus the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. "I feel like the last two have been a lot better," Happ said. "I feel like I'm staying in my lanes a little better on each side of the plate, more consistently. That's a good sign for me and there's been a little bit more life to my fastball as well."

Junis sustained his first loss of the season on Saturday after allowing five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels. The 24-year-old surrendered two homers and has been taken deep six times in three starts since being called up in early June. "Jake struggled with command and left the ball over a big part of the plate a few times," manager Ned Yost said of Junis, who will be making his seventh career appearance and fifth start on Friday.


1. Toronto 1B Justin Smoak has two homers, four RBIs and seven runs scored during his seven-game hitting streak.

2. Royals OF Whit Merrifield has recorded an RBI in six of nine plate appearances with a runner at third and less than two outs.

3. Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson is day-to-day with left knee soreness.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Royals 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Toronto 35-37 L1 19-17 16-20 12-19 3-3 13-8 7-7
Kansas City 35-36 W1 19-17 16-19 10-6 9-18 11-10 5-2
Last Meeting
Toronto Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/7/16 TOR 1 KC 7 .188 0 .465 .324 2 .891
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto N/A
Kansas City N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto A. Alford 0 0 0
Kansas City S. Alexander 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 0.00 .000 0
Kansas City 0.00 .000 0
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto J. Smoak .303 73 .963
Kansas City E. Hosmer .305 82 .828
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto J. Smoak 20 43 47
Kansas City M. Moustakas 19 35 46
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 4.37 .246 650
Kansas City 4.23 .244 551