The previous time he left the mound at Kauffman Stadium, Royals starting pitcher Jakob Junis held his arms in the air, acknowledgment of the first nine-inning complete game of his career.
The encore Monday fell one inning shy of that effort — Junis took care of only the initial eight.
An error took care of the win in the 10th.
The Royals walked off the White Sox 4-3 in 10 innings after pitcher Jeanmar Gómez threw the ball into left field, allowing Brian Goodwin to score the game-winning run.
Two innings after Junis departed another quality outing, the Royals (48-95) used their fourth walk-off win of the year to extended a season-best home winning streak to six games. And they came from behind to do it, after Ryan O’Hearn had cracked his 10th homer of the season to draw even in the sixth.
“The feeling of us never being out of a game has returned,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Finding ways to score, I’m a lot more confident in that.”
But this was a bit of a new avenue.
Royals outfielder Brian Goodwin doubled to lead off the bottom of the 10th. After a discussion with Yost, Alcides Escobar attempted to bunt Goodwin to third base. When Gomez fielded the bunt, he sailed a throw over third.
Goodwin could jog home.
“I was a little surprised,” Goodwin said of Gomez’s decision to try to cut him down at third. “I still went into the base hard because you never know in that situation. It was just a great bunt by Esky.”
Jake Newberry was credited with the win on the mound after throwing a scoreless 10th, but it was Junis who starred there. He completed eight innings before leaving with a no decision. He retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced after giving up six hits in the initial three innings.
The White Sox (56-88) stung Junis for three runs in the third, ignited with Adam Engel’s solo home run and prolonged with a two-run shot from Daniel Palka that barely squeezed inside the right-field foul pole.
But they couldn’t touch him afterward. Junis extended a streak of effectiveness that dates to Aug. 6. In his past seven starts, he has an ERA of 2.15. He’s navigated four straight starts without a walk.
“He’s on a roll right now,” Yost said. “He’s making it easier on himself to go deep (into games).”
O’Hearn took him off the hook with the game-tying home run in the sixth off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, a ball that landed 430 feet from home plate after clearing the centerfield fence. O’Hearn has 10 homers this year. He hit 11 in Class AAA Omaha in nearly four times as many plate appearances.
“I’m not thinking about numbers,” he said. “I just go out there and play has hard as I can and have quality at-bats. For the home runs to keep piling up like that and finally get to 10 is awesome.”
The scouting report suggests patience against Giolito. He has walked more hitters than anyone in the American League, but the velocity of the contact has been minimal.
Whit Merrifield voiced a dismissal of that notion. Merrifield ambushed his first pitch of the game 406 feet to left centerfield, his third leadoff home in 2018 and the sixth of his career. Merrifield has 12 home runs this season after mustering only five in the first four months of the year.
Giolito threw seven innings — for just the fifth time in 29 starts — allowing three runs on six hits. He walked two, an improvement from his usual command problems. He has issued a league-high 81 walks this year.
The Royals got to him instead with the pair of home runs.
They got the bullpen with a manufactured run.